Effects of lumbar disk herniation on the careers of professional baseball players

Orthopedics. 2012 Jan;35(1):43-9. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20111122-40.


Outcomes after lumbar disk herniation in baseball athletes are currently unknown. It has been postulated that the repetitive torque-producing motions of a baseball player may have negative implications after a disk injury. Sixty-nine lumbar disk herniations (40 treated operatively, 29 nonoperatively) in 64 professional baseball players were identified, and important outcome measures including successful return to play, time to recovery, career longevity, and performance based on vital statistics to each position were documented. Ninety-seven percent of baseball athletes successfully returned to play at an average of 6.6 months after diagnosis. Athletes treated operatively required significantly more time to return to play than those managed nonoperatively (8.7 vs 3.6 months, respectively; P<.0001).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Baseball / injuries*
  • Baseball / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diskectomy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / epidemiology*
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / surgery*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Recovery of Function
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology