Injury Rates Among Division I Baseball Players With and Without SPEC Program Guidance

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Athlete monitoring and proper strength and conditioning should serve not only to manage fatigue and increase athletic performance but decrease injury rates as well. In cooperation with the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Sport Science Program, the Sports Performance Enhancement Consortium (SPEC) provides athlete monitoring and strength & conditioning services to ETSU Athletics. Since October 2008, the SPEC program has provided evidence based monitoring and strength and conditioning (S&C) services to ETSU baseball. This represents the first investigation of the potential for the SPEC program to influence injury rates among Division I athletes at ETSU. The number of spring season game-time injuries and athletic exposures were determined for ETSU baseball during the 7-year period from 2004-2010. Injuries were classified as Game-Time Injury (GTI) and/or Training Related Game-Time Injury (TRGTI). In order to qualify as a GTI, the injury must have occurred during and as a direct result of playing in a game. GTIs include contact and non-contact injuries. Injuries that may have been influenced by the strength and conditioning program were classified as TRGTI. During spring seasons from 2004-2010, these injuries included strains, sprains, dislocations (non-contact), inflammation, and impingements. Classification as a TRGTI required all of the following criteria to be fulfilled, 1) the injury must have occurred during and as a direct result of playing in a game, 2) the injury must not result from contact, 3) the injury must have been potentially related to and/or prevented through training. For the purposes of this investigation, only injuries sustained during spring season games were considered. A single athletic exposure (A-E) was defined as 1 athlete participating in 1 competition where the potential for injury existed and was not dependent upon the length of time an athlete participated in the competition. For the purposes of this investigation, only A-Es occurring during spring season games were considered. A-Es for practice sessions were not available. Injury rate is defined as the number of injuries divided by the number of A-Es. In this investigation, injury rate is expressed at injuries per 100 A-Es. Since ETSU Baseball injury data is available for the last seven spring seasons, and only two seasons have included SPEC involvement, a description of total injuries and injury rates can be provided. Of the 7 seasons reported, the 2009 and 2010 spring seasons were associated with the lowest GTI, TRGTI and game-time injuries (total injuries and training related injuries) and lowest injury rates (total injury rate and training related injury rate). During the spring 2010 season, not a single TRGTI was reported. If significant injury reductions can be achieved through the SPEC program over a broad range of sports, it may suggest that programs similar to SPEC could be used in sport at a variety of levels to increase performance and reduce injury rates and decrease the costs associated with the treatment of sport related injuries.


Johnson City, TN

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