Epidemiology of Injuries in Major League Baseball Catchers

Kelly G. Kilcoyne, Brian G. Ebel, Richard L. Bancells, John H. Wilckens, Edward G. McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In part because of the perception that many injuries occur during collisions with the catcher at home plate, Major League Baseball (MLB) officials recently implemented rule changes to prevent these injuries. There is little research on the rate, type, and severity of injuries in MLB catchers. Purpose: To (1) determine the types and severity of injuries to catchers, (2) determine catchers athlete exposure (AE) rate of injuries, and (3) assess the perception that catchers are at risk for career-ending injuries caused by home plate collisions. Study Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Methods: The MLB Electronic Baseball Information System was queried for injuries in catchers during the 2001-2010 seasons categorized by cause (collision vs noncollision), diagnosis, and severity. All collision injuries were confirmed by reviewing publicly accessible records and news media. The injury exposure rate per 1000 AEs was calculated, and the rate of injury, associated days on the disabled list (DL), and injury severity were determined on the basis of cause and location of injury. Poisson regression was used to compare rates among seasons, and significance was set at P <.05. Results: During the study period, 134 injuries were sustained, resulting in 6801 days lost. The mean time on the DL was 50.8 days (range, 15-236). The average injury rate was 2.75 injuries per 1000 AEs (range, 0.82-5.14). Of those 134 injuries, 20 were collision injuries. Collision injuries resulted in a mean of 39 days (range, 15-93) of DL time, compared with 53 days for noncollision injuries (range, 15-236), which was not a significant difference. No collision injury was career ending. Noncollision injuries more commonly resulted in >100 days on the DL compared with collision injuries (P =.049). Conclusion: Study findings indicated that (1) the most common type of injury to catchers was noncollision injury, (2) the rate of injuries to catchers is lower than previously reported rates for other player positions, and (3) this study did not support the perception that collision injuries are a frequent cause of career-ending injury to catchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2496-2500
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume43
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Keywords

  • baseball catcher
  • collision injury
  • epidemiology
  • noncollision injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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