ANALYSIS OF TRUNK POWER AND JOINT STRESSES BETWEEN PROFESSIONAL AND COLLEGIATE PITCHERS
Biomedical Sciences Instrumentation
The dynamic motion of a baseball pitch generates high elbow and shoulder torques that can result in injury. Previous research has noted the importance of properly transferring energy from the lower extremities through the throwing arm to decrease joint stress. The goal of this study was to compare segmental powers between two levels of pitchers at various moments throughout the pitching cycle and observe their influence on upper extremity torques. Thirteen professional and thirteen collegiate
... tchers participated in this study. Forty-seven reflective markers were attached to the subjects at specific landmarks. An 8-camera motion analysis system was set up surrounding an artificial pitching mound, where participants threw 10 fastballs. Data were exported and processed using Visual 3D software. Welch's T-tests compared the means between groups with a significance set at p < 0.05. Professional pitchers were found to have significantly greater torso power at foot contact, maximum shoulder external rotation, ball release, and overall peak torso power. They also demonstrated significantly greater pitch velocity. Professional pitchers generated similar elbow varus torque and shoulder internal rotation torque compared to collegiate pitchers. These findings suggest professional pitchers more effectively use torso power to help increase pitch speed without increasing overall joint torques.