Scapular dysfunction in high school baseball players sustaining throwing-related upper extremity injury: a prospective study

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2013 Sep;22(9):1154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jse.2012.12.029. Epub 2013 Feb 15.


Hypothesis and background: Though commonly suggested as an injury risk factor, scapular dysfunction has not been established as a prospective cause of throwing-related upper extremity injury in baseball players. The purpose is to determine whether scapular dysfunction identified during preseason screening is predictive of increased risk of throwing-related shoulder and elbow injuries in high school baseball players.

Materials and methods: The presence or absence of scapular dysfunction was obtained prospectively during preseason screenings in 246 high school baseball players over the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Exposure and injury surveillance data were then obtained weekly over the course of each season to determine whether scapular dysfunction was predictive of subsequent throwing-related upper extremities sustained.

Results: There were 12 throwing-related upper extremity injuries sustained in the 246 participants, yielding an injury rate of 1.0 per 1,000 athlete exposures. There were no significant differences in injury rates between the participants with normal scapular function versus subtle scapular dysfunction (P = .62), normal scapular function versus obvious scapular dysfunction (P = .26), or subtle versus obvious scapular dysfunction (P = .45).

Conclusion: This study showed that scapular dysfunction identified during preseason screenings is not associated with subsequent throwing-related upper extremity injury.

Keywords: Baseball; Level I; Prognosis Study; Prospective Design; clinical assessment; elbow; scapula; shoulder; throwing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Baseball / injuries*
  • Elbow Injuries*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lifting
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Scapula / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Injuries*