Approximately 10 million children and adolescents play baseball as part of a team or in backyards each year in the United States. While baseball is a great way for people of all ages to get out and get some exercise, injuries can and do occur. Taking a few precautions will help reduce the chance of injury and help everyone enjoy our national pastime.
- More than 110,000 U.S. children younger than 18 years of age are treated each year in emergency departments for baseball-related injuries.
- The most common mechanisms of injury are being hit by the baseball and being hit by the bat.
- The face and the upper extremities (shoulders, arms, hands) are the most commonly injured areas of the body.
Who is Injured?
- Boys are injured more often playing baseball than girls.
- While injuries occur year-round, the majority of injuries occur between April and June, which coincides with youth baseball season.
- Adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 years are more likely to have been injured while sliding than younger children.
- Injuries that are the result of sliding are more likely to be fractures and need hospital admission than injuries caused by other mechanisms.
- Children younger than 5 years of age with a baseball-related injury are more likely to be injured at home and to sustain injuries to the face than older children.
- Reduced-impact safety baseballs should be used for all youth league practices and games.
- Safety baseballs, which are softer than regular baseballs, should also be used by children at home.
- Breakaway safety bases should be installed on all baseball fields used by youth leagues - including public parks and schools.
- Batters should wear helmets equipped with face shields both during youth league play and at home.
- Children should wear properly fitted mouth guards when playing baseball, especially pitchers and infielders, to reduce the number and severity of dental injuries.
Baseball Research in the News
- More Safety Gear Urged for Young Ballplayers (Chicago Tribune)
- Youth Baseball Injury Stats: Ouch! (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- Batter Up and Look Out (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services HealthBeat with Ira Dreyfuss)
Additional Baseball Information
- Press Release: National Study Finds Youth Baseball-Related Injuries Down 25 Percent - May 26, 2009
- Press Release: Injuries to High School Baseball Players Becoming More Serious - June 2, 2008
- PubMed Abstract: Baseball-Related Injuries to Children Treated in Hospital Emergency Separtments in the United States, 1994-2006 - June 2009
- PubMed Abstract: Epidemiological Features of High School Baseball Injuries in the United States, 2005-2007 - June 2008