The Effects of Increased Workload on Softball Pitching Mechanics, Range of Motion, and Strength
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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Softball pitching is a dynamic motion that requires the entire kinetic chain and has been documented to result in whole body muscular fatigue. In addition to muscular fatigue, increased pain has been documented after a game, tournament, and season. However, there has been limited data researching the relationship between workload with trunk kinematics and clinical measures such as range of motion and strength. Furthermore, the current research investigates mechanics related to pain within a single pitch type, but recently mechanical differences between various pitch types have been found. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to examine the effects of workload on trunk mechanics, pitch types, and upper and lower extremity range of motion and strength between various time points. The results revealed no significant differences between time points for trunk kinematics for any of the pitch types, nor were there any significant differences in compensation mechanisms between pitch types. Results revealed that hip and shoulder range of motion and strength decreased as workload increased ( p < .001). The results of decreased range of motion and strength congruent with increased workload even with a given break indicate that softball pitching may result in residual effects that could ultimately increase injury risk. Further research will need to be done to fully understand the impact of workload on injury risk in these athletes.