A new analysis, highlighted today in a WebMD article, shows that professional baseball pitchers suffer higher injury rates than fielders. When looking at data from the 2002-08 seasons, researchers found that pitchers spent 62.4 percent of their days on disability, compared to 37.6 percent for fielders.
Given the physically taxing and repetitive nature of a pitcher's job, this finding - along with the one that pitchers are more likely to be sidelined by upper extremity injuries than for lower-extremity ones - isn't terribly surprising. But what I did find surprising, and somewhat perplexing, was that:
It’s especially hazardous for pitchers before the annual mid-season All-Star game. During the period examined, pitchers were 34% more likely than fielders to be injured before the mid-season break. And 77% of all injuries to pitchers happen before the All-Star game.
The researchers also found that 74.4 percent of all player injuries occurred before the All-Star break. (No word, though, on why that's the case.) They presented their work at the annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine .
Photo by Keith Allison