NFHS approves restriction policy for baseball pitchers

State athletic associations will now be required to develop policies affording baseball pitchers adequate rest between appearances, according to rules adopted by the national association.

Photo: Kevin Hoffman
Photo: Kevin Hoffman

The National Federation of State High School Associations’ (NFHS) Board of Directors signed off on the new rule, requiring states to develop a policy based on the number of pitches a player throws during a single game. The rise in arm injuries and Tommy John surgeries for young athletes has been a major topic in baseball in recent years, and some states have already adopted policies to address the issue.

From the NFHS:

“We’re pleased that the rules committee worked in conjunction with the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to find an acceptable and reasonable modification to this rule in order to emphasis the risk that occurs when pitchers overuse their throwing arm,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball.

Alabama adopted pitch limits in 2010, and that same year New York created a policy that capped pitch counts and set innings limits. Illinois and Texas discussed the issue this spring, but Texas decided earlier this month it would not move forward with pitch limits. Colorado and Vermont also have rules in place.

According to The American Journal of Sports Medicine, nearly 57 percent of all Tommy John surgeries in the United States are performed on 15- to 19-year-olds.

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