The Injured Baseball Athlete

How to be prepared for and handle injuries

Staff members of local baseball teams and leagues should be prepared to deal with injuries which will inevitably occur in the sport of baseball. These injuries may vary from routine to emergency and a written emergency response plan should be adopted, implemented, and practiced by all staff.

Injury Prevention: 

Strength & Conditioning: Youth and adolescent baseball players may participate in strength and conditioning programs specific for baseball and for their age group. In addition to improving performance, well-designed and appropriately supervised strength and conditioning programs are excellent vehicles for injury prevention. 
Dynamic Warm Up: All coaches should require the team to engage in dynamic warm up before all practices and games.  This is most effective prior to throwing, remember, ‘warm up the body, then warm up the arms.’ 
Heat Illness: Educate all staff on the importance of educating players on pre-activity hydration; mandatory fluid breaks; making water and/or sports drinks available; and how to recognize and respond to symptoms and signs of heat illness. Also, Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) guidelines should be followed when making decisions about practice modification, postponement, or cancellation due to heat illness concerns. WBGT can be approximated by purchasing an inexpensive smartphone app. For more information, see Heat Illness: Avoidance And Prevention.
Concussion: All staff should be educated on the basics of concussion recognition, mandatory removal from play, mandatory medical treatment by a licensed health care professional, written medical clearance, and gradual return to play protocols. All 50 states have concussion laws applying to schools and/or local youth sports which may require specified coach education and handouts for parents and players. The goal of these programs is to effectively identify potentially concussed athletes, remove them from harm’s way, and facilitate appropriate evaluation and subsequent care.  Repeat trauma to an athlete with head injury increases the risk for more severe concussion, protracted recovery from concussion (including ‘post-concussion syndrome’), and the rare, but neurologically devastating “second impact syndrome”.  For more information, see CDC HEADS UP for Youth Sports.

Pre-injury Planning:

First Aid and CPR Training: Each team should have at least one staff member on premises at all times who has successfully completed a Red Cross certified first aid and CPR training course within the past three years. Such staff member will need not only to be prepared to provide first aid, but also to administer CPR and AED (if available).

Emergency Phone List:
EMS 911
Police 911
Fire 911
Water Emergency
Gas Emergency
Electricity Emergency

Site Map: A site map should be prepared and readily available which includes a detailed map of all field parking areas, buildings, streets, as well as symbols for emergency access points for EMS, first aid stations, AED’s, fire extinguishers, and utility disconnect or shut off points. The exact name and address of the facility should be listed as well as the names of the closest roads and intersections. The site map should be kept with all first aid kits.

First Aid Kit:  A first aid kit should be available at all practice and game locations.  Each coach should keep a fully stocked first aid kit in his or her vehicle at all times.  Access to ice or cold packs should be available at all practice and game locations.

Emergency Information and Medical Consent Forms:  Each coach should keep either a hard copy or electronic copy with them at all times in the event emergency treatment is required.

Post Injury

Assess Injury and Treat Accordingly:
Staff members should assess each injury and treat accordingly.

First Aid: When administering first aid, the staff member should not exceed the scope of his or her training. The purpose of first aid is to merely stabilize the situation by preventing it from becoming worse. Once the condition has been stabilized, all other treatment should be provided by a medical professional.
Medical Emergency: 911 should be called if immediate attention is necessary. The site map should be referenced when speaking to EMS so that clear instructions can be provided about the location of the facility and the best access point.
Emergency Information and Medical Consent Form: This form should be given to EMS upon arrival so that they will be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions and allergies.
Notification of Parents: Parents should be notified immediately if there is a treatable injury.
Notification of Risk Management Officer: The RMO should be notified of all injuries so that he/she can document the injury and provide Accident insurance claim form to parent or guardian.
Return to Play: Once a player has suffered an injury that requires medical treatment by a doctor, the decision regarding the appropriate time to return to play should be made by an approved healthcare professional (ex: definition varies per state law but could be MD, DO, or Physician’s Assistant.) The coach should not put pressure on the player to return too early and the instructions of healthcare professional should be honored.

Free Online Course: 
For more information, please take the free Basic First Aid Course.