Cross AG, Khalil LS, Swantek AJ, Lizzio VA, Ziedas AC, Camp CL, Chalmers PN, Smith K, Chaides SE, Rexroth JD, and Makhni EC. Athletes Perceive Weighted Baseballs to Carry a Notable Injury Risk, yet Still Use Them Frequently: A Multicenter Survey Study. J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev 2022; 6(9).
J Am Acad Orthop Surg Glob Res Rev
INTRODUCTION: Weighted baseball use in throwing programs is widespread; however, their use remains controversial. Prior research shows that weighted baseball programs can increase ball velocity but potentially increase throwing arm injuries. This study aims to ascertain perceptions of weighted baseballs among elite baseball players.
METHODS: A created online survey questioned common practices, throwing regimens, injury risk factors, and weighted baseball program use. The questions were modeled to ascertain the perceptions of elite baseball players to understand their experience with weighted baseballs. Descriptive statistical analysis was conducted.
RESULTS: Three hundred seventy-six baseball players with a mean age of 20 ± 2 years completed the survey; 64% of the players (239/376) were pitchers. 71% (267/376) reported the use of weighted baseballs. Of those, 75% (199/267) thought it made them a better player. Overall, 73% (275/377) thought weighted baseballs are a risk for injury. 17% (46/267) attributed their injury to using weighted baseballs. Overall, participants reported a mean 72% ± 30% likelihood of future weighted baseball use.
CONCLUSION: Most of the participating elite adult baseball players reported prior weighted baseball use with a corresponding improvement in pitching performance despite a perceived increased injury risk. Nearly 20% of the players attributed pain or injury to weighted baseball use. Moreover, the players surveyed intend to continue using weighted baseballs because of the perceived performance benefit.
Medical Subject Headings
Adolescent; Adult; Arm Injuries; Athletes; Baseball; Biomechanical Phenomena; Humans; Young Adult