Association works towards the betterment of athletes

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 11, 2018

You’re at a high school baseball game, it’s the bottom of the last inning and the game is on the line. Then, out of nowhere, the head coach exits the dugout and, for no clear reason, he replaces his starting pitcher during the most crucial moment of the game. If you haven’t been to a high school, or any, baseball game before, the change may not make sense. But if you have, you know that the head coach made the change because more than likely, the pitcher has reached his or her stamina limit for pitches thrown in a game.

Last year, the Mississippi High School Activities Association implemented a new pitch limit in an effort to minimize injuries among young athletes. The rules state that if a pitcher throws 25 pitches in a game or less, they need zero days of rest. Anywhere between 26 and 50 will result in one-day rest, 51 to 75 pitches requires two days rest, 76 to 105 pitches requires three days and anywhere between 106 and 120, the player will be unable to throw for the next four days. Also, once a player throws 120 pitches in one game, they have to come off the mound.

I applaud the MHSAA for passing this rule last year and for keeping it in place for a second year. Nowadays, we see more young baseball players participate in year-round leagues and tournaments because of year-round competitions. We have also seen the number of Tommy John surgeries increase among young pitchers recently. According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, in recent years 56.7 percent of Tommy John surgeries in the United States were performed on young people between the ages of 15-and-19.

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Two decades ago, Tommy John surgeries were more commonly seen in baseball pitchers who were in their late 30’s, according to Sports Illustrated.

I hope the MHSAA keeps this rule in place for years to come. If so, local athletes with dreams of making a living out of sports will have a greater success rate.