Reader suggests stricter pitch limits

Hi Mr. Reardon,

I have a 14 year old grandson who pitches for a Pony league team.
Like you, I am very concerned about youth Tommy John injuries and therefore very much appreciate your reports on the subject.
In my opinion only being concerned adults is not adequate responsibility for our youths and we need to as you mentioned: “err on the side of caution” to protect future sports prospects.
Therefore, if I may suggest, all youth baseball teams should abide by what the National Little League does. That is to limit the number of pitches per game and set a minimum number of no pitch days between games. Over zealous coaches might not like such a ruling mostly  because of the must win attitude in spite of the risks involved.
Admittedly it might be an impossible task  to get all leagues to adopt such a rule.
Therefore in seeking a solution, may I propose that perhaps The State of Hawaii should pass a law that is identical to the Little League Rules regarding number of pitches per game and rest days between games for various ages.
All of this is a suggestion and I hope you would agree and push it to fruition.
Myself and many others I know read your articles religiously, so thank you for that and look forward to more of the best.


Masa Nakamura


  1. oldtimer808 July 12, 2014 10:47 am

    I agree that youth leagues should limit the number of pitches thrown. Unfortunately there are some coaches who will over use their pitchers with no regard for the welfare of the player. The arm is still developing and the over hand throwing motion is not a natural motion. Winning at the youth level is important but not at the expense of injuries to the players.

  2. Annoddah Dave July 12, 2014 4:20 pm

    DR: Thanks for those articles on youth pitching. You did not lay complete blame for the situation but “overzealous coaches and parents” are the source of the problem. Little League has instituted a mandatory pitch count for years now based on data that showed arm trouble for youth and surgery at ages 10-13 years old. However, they are but one league in this State. If you check, there is PONY, Babe Ruth, PAL, CABA, AAU, American Legion, plus a plethora of travel and tournament teams. Parents letting coaches ruin the rotator cuff of their kids are inexcusable. Parents living their athletic dreams through these kids are sad. Worse are the egos of coaches who continually have travel or select teams that play year round. Do they really care about the health of the kids? Probably not because there are plenty of kids and parents who will follow. Perhaps the solution to Mr. Nakamura’s question is not legislation, rather make sure that the teams are sanctioned nationally that play on park and school sites. Those teams without national sanctions/charters should not be allowed to exist. In this way you will mitigate some of the root causes.

  3. el burro sabio July 12, 2014 7:14 pm

    There are many flaws in pitch count limits and rest rules, too many to discuss at this time. Legislation is simply ridiculous. The best way to protect the kids is to apply common sense with each because all kids are built and react differently. Given that common sense is a major factor, I understand why some want more rules although that won’t solve the problem.

    Food for thought – no one wants to see children injured, but what’s worse, a blown-out arm or numerous concussions before age 18?

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