Baseball and Signs of Spring

“Baseball is it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona”                                        – George Will

Medial elbow pain, double plays, and daffodils are always signs of spring and new beginnings.  So is the rise of wearable devices that give us data: rings that measure movement patterns, helmet sensors that show speed in spring workouts, and elbow sleeves that measure elbow torques (stresses), all becoming increasingly available. 

In this month’s (Feb 2020) Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, a group of Michigan researchers looked into a group of professional pitchers throwing fastballs, changeups, and curveballs, all while wearing a commonly available gyroscopic sensor equipped with an accelerometer.

The sensor showed that fastballs placed the most stress on the elbow.  This is not new data. However, it also showed that curveballs and being a little thicker around the waist were less stressful on the elbow while throwing. This suggests that maybe you would not want to be a skinny pitcher who only throws fastballs. Increasingly, accumulated data is allowing us to stay healthier. Such ‘big data’ is showing us that certain blood pressure medications may aid in rotator cuff healing.

The joy of spring is like new data, always bringing us renewed hope that more good things lie ahead. 

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