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, 34 (4), 597-603

Kinematics and Kinetics of Elite Windmill Softball Pitching


Kinematics and Kinetics of Elite Windmill Softball Pitching

Sherry L Werner et al. Am J Sports Med.


Background: A significant number of time-loss injuries to the upper extremity in elite windmill softball pitchers has been documented. The number of outings and pitches thrown in 1 week for a softball pitcher is typically far in excess of those seen in baseball pitchers. Shoulder stress in professional baseball pitching has been reported to be high and has been linked to pitching injuries. Shoulder distraction has not been studied in an elite softball pitching population.

Hypothesis: The stresses on the throwing shoulder of elite windmill pitchers are similar to those found for professional baseball pitchers.

Study design: Descriptive laboratory study.

Methods: Three-dimensional, high-speed (120 Hz) video data were collected on rise balls from 24 elite softball pitchers during the 1996 Olympic Games. Kinematic parameters related to pitching mechanics and resultant kinetics on the throwing shoulder were calculated. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to relate shoulder stress and pitching mechanics.

Results: Shoulder distraction stress averaged 80% of body weight for the Olympic pitchers. Sixty-nine percent of the variability in shoulder distraction can be explained by a combination of 7 parameters related to pitching mechanics.

Conclusion: Excessive distraction stress at the throwing shoulder is similar to that found in baseball pitchers, which suggests that windmill softball pitchers are at risk for overuse injuries. Normative information regarding upper extremity kinematics and kinetics for elite softball pitchers has been established.

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