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Motion Detection System Could Prevent Injuries To Pitchers’ Arms

MAYWOOD, Ill. (UPI) — U.S. sports medicine experts say a new motion detection system could identify baseball pitchers who are at risk of shoulder injuries.

While existing systems that evaluate pitchers’ throwing motions require cameras and other sophisticated equipment and generally are confined to indoor use, the new system can be used on the field and requires only a laptop computer, researchers at Loyola University reported Tuesday.

In a well-rested pitcher, the upper arm bone and the shoulder blade move in concert, dubbed the scapulo-humeral rhythm. But after a pitcher has been on the mound for a while, the muscles begin to tire, and that rhythm begins to deteriorate, which can lead to shoulder injuries.

The Loyola system, called the Xbus Kit, positions sensors on the pitcher’s arms and torso that gather information using gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers to detect deterioration in the scapulo-humeral rhythm.

The study demonstrates the feasibility of using the portable tracking system to identify college-age pitchers who are at risk for shoulder injuries, Loyola University Medical Center sports medicine surgeon Pietro Tonino said.

Such at-risk pitchers could undergo strengthening exercises and physical therapy to prevent injures, he said.

There are plans to next test the tracking system on Little League pitchers, Tonino and his study colleagues said.

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  • Jeff

    They need that system in girls’ soccer as well where the injury rate approaches NFL levels. The girls’ flexibility added to the fact they don’t move like boys places their knees at greater risk of injury. Sounds like this system could really help in training girls to move a little more like boys do.

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