Fracture Epidemiology in Professional Baseball

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Fracture Epidemiology in Professional Baseball

The 2021 Major League Baseball season will open on April 1st and end on October 3rd 2021. The 91st All-Star Game will take place on July 13 at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The regular season will be followed by the 2021 World Series, scheduled between October 26 and November 3.

It will be the last season that the Cleveland team will play under the Indians moniker, after years of name controversy. On February 9, the MLB, in agreement with the MLBPA, announced changes to the rules that will be introduced this season.

When two teams face each other twice on the same day, seven innings will be played instead of the usual nine. For innings after the ninth, the offensive team will have a player on second base at the start of each half inning.

Due to travel restrictions on the US-Canada borders, the Toronto Blue Jays will play their first games of the season at the TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Florida. Most franchises have announced limited stadium opening to the public; on March 11, the Texas Rangers announced the complete opening of Globe Life Field providing for the maintenance of the distance between spectators and the obligation to wear masks.

Fracture Epidemiology in Professional Baseball

An article entitled: Fracture Epidemiology in Professional Baseball From 2011 to 2017, published in 2020 in the Orthopedic journal of sports medicine, studied the incidence and severity of certain types of fractures in professional baseball players over the above mentioned time frame.
Below an abstract: "Background: Fractures are a significant cause of missed time in Major League Baseball (MLB) and Minor League Baseball (MiLB).

MLB and the MLB Players Association recently instituted rule changes to limit collisions at home plate and second base. Purpose: To evaluate the epidemiologic characteristics of fractures in professional baseball and to assess the change in acute fracture incidence secondary to traumatic collisions at home plate and second base after the recently instituted rule changes.

Study design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: The MLB Health and Injury Tracking System (HITS) database was used to access injury information on MLB and MiLB players to analyze fracture data from 2011 to 2017. Injuries were included if the primary diagnosis was classified as a fracture in the HITS system in its International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, codes; injuries were excluded if they were not work related, if they occurred in the offseason, or if they were sustained by a nonplayer.

The proportion of fractures occurring due to contact with the ground or another person in the relevant area of the field-home plate or second base-in the years before rule implementation was compared with the years after.

Results: A total of 1798 fractures were identified: 342 among MLB players and 1456 among MiLB players. Mean time missed per fracture was 56.6 ± 48.4 days, with significantly less time missed in MLB (46.8 ± 47.7 days) compared with MiLB (59.0 ± 48.3 days) (P < .0001).

A 1-way analysis of variance with post hoc Bonferroni correction demonstrated that starting pitchers missed significantly more time due to fractures per injury than all other position groups (P < .0001). Acute fractures due to contact with the ground or with another athlete were significantly decreased after rule implementation at home plate in 2014 (22 [3.0%] vs 14 [1.3%]; P = .015) and at second base in 2016 (90 [7.0%] vs 23 [4.5%]; P = .045).

Conclusion: The recently instituted rule changes to reduce collisions between players at home plate and at second base are associated with reductions in the proportion of acute fractures in those areas on the field."