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Regional Interdependence of the Hip and Lumbo-Pelvic Region in Division II Collegiate Level Baseball Pitchers:  A Preliminary Study.

Authors:   Shimamura KK, Cheatham S, Chung W, Farwell D, De la Cruz F, Goetz J, Lindblom K, Powers D

Pitchers may be at greater risk of injury in comparison to other overhead throwing athletes due to the repetition of the pitching motion. It has been reported that approximately 30% of all baseball injuries occur in the lower body. This may be related to limited hip mobility, which can compromise pitching biomechanics while placing excessive stress on the trunk and upper quarter. Hip motion and strength measurements have been reported in professional baseball pitchers but have not been reported in collegiate pitchers.   Therefore, the purpose of this study was to report preliminary findings for passive hip motion and isometric hip muscle strength in collegiate pitchers and compare them to previously published values for professional level pitchers. The authors found that 52% percent of the right-handed and 50% of the left-handed pitchers demonstrated poor lumbo-pelvic motor control with an inability to stabilize during active hip IR and ER even though isolated strength deficits were not detected at a significant level. There were no significant differences in hip passive motion or gluteus medius strength between right and left-handed pitchers. Differences did exist between collegiate data and previously published values for professional pitchers for IR motion measured in prone and gluteus maximus strength. Hip retroversion was present in 55% of the pitchers (primarily bilaterally) with four of the pitchers presenting with retroversion singularly in either the stride or trail limb where the ER rotation motion was greater than the IR.   Therefore, assessing mobility and muscle strength of the lower quarter in isolation can be misleading and may not be adequate to ensure the potential for optimal pitching performance. These findings suggest that lumbo-pelvic control in relation to the lower extremities should be assessed as one functional unit.

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