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California District 54 Little League

Injury Prevention

When the mission is safety, injury prevention is the first step!


Helmets: Must meet NOCSAE specifications and standards (affixed with NOCSAE symbol).

Bats: USABat Standard bats must be used in the Little League Major Baseball Division and below. Either USABat Standard bats or BBCOR bats must be used at the Intermediate (50/70) Baseball and Junior League Baseball Divisions. At the Senior League Baseball Division, all bats must be meet the BBCOR standard.

Catcher’s gear: Catchers must wear a catcher’s helmet (with face mask and dangling throat protector; skull caps not permitted per Little League), chest protector (long-model or short-model), and shin guards. Male catchers must wear a protective supporter and cup at all times.

Protective cups: All young men should wear protective athletic cups while playing baseball, and all male catchers are required to wear them.

Sports bras: All young ladies should wear supportive athletic undergarments.

Balls: Only official Little League balls will be used during practices and games.

Face mask/chin guard for helmets: In order to use a helmet attachment in Little League play, the helmet manufacturer must provide a notice indicating that affixing the protector to the helmet has not voided the helmet’s NOCSAE certification. That notice must be shown to the umpire prior to the game. (per Little League)

Mouthguards: Recommended to protect teeth from injury (due to impact from balls, collisions with other players, etc).


The role of parents and coaches in injury prevention is crucial. When a child complains of arm pain, they MUST act in the best interests of the child. 46% of youth respondents said they were encouraged on at least one occasion to keep playing despite having arm pain (Makhni EC, AJSM).

Risk factors for elbow pain in baseball/softball:

  •             Pitching while fatigued
  •             Poor pitching mechanics
  •             Pitch velocity
  •             Pitch counts (120 to 130-140 per game)

Prevention strategies
Limit fatigue and overuse by following pitching/throwing guidelines, taking periodic time off from baseball/softball, and using age-appropriate strength and conditioning programs (consult a professional).

            Maintain range of motion throughout the body and the shoulder.

            Preparing to throw: Warm up to throw, don’t Throw to warm-up! (see next)


Warm up to throw, don’t throw to warm up!

Begin with a general body warm-up that mimics baseball movements to increase the heart rate and blood flow to muscles, and to prepare the body for more intense versions of these movements.

Progress to a dynamic warm-up that involves gentle, repetitive movements that gradually increase the range of motion, and stays within the normal range of motion. The goal of a warm-up is to optimize, not maximize, the range of motion.

Examples of dynamic warm-ups for baseball and softball from the University of Rochester Sports Medicine.


Adolescence is the perfect time to teach athletes how to effectively fuel their body for training, competition and recovery. Some excellent tips are listed in the table below, from the article “Fueling and Hydrating Before, During and After Exercise,” from the Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine website.

Before Exercise

During Exercise

After Exercise


3-4 hours before

30-60 min before

Exercise lasting <60 min

Exercise lasting >60 min

15-60 min after

2-3 hours after

Nutrition Recommendations

Meal: high carb, moderate protein, low fat & fiber

Snack: carb

Snack: carb

Snack: carb & protein

Balanced meal: carb, protein & fats

Hydration recommendations

8-20 oz fluid 1 hour before exercise

None or water

4-6 oz fluid every 15 min

Rehydrate with 16-24 oz fluid per one pound lost through sweat


  • Lunch meat and cheese sandwich
  • Grilled chicken, rice, vegetables
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Peanut butter sandwich
  • Pretzels and peanut butter
  • Trail mix and banana

  • Sports drink
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Granola bar
  • Pretzels

  • Chocolate milk
  • Cheese & crackers
  • Protein bar
  • Smoothie
  • Yogurt & granola
  • Hamburger & grilled vegetables
  • Salmon, mixed vegetables & rice
  • Pizza & salad
  •  Lasagna


The warming weather means that our players will need to start paying more attention to their hydration, both on and off the field. Proper hydration starts a few days prior to exercise! Youth athletes should drink 1/2 to 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight every day. Sports drinks are usually high in sugar, so hydrating with water is preferable. When exercising longer than 60 minutes, electrolyte-fluids can be helpful; again, be careful to avoid high sugar content, or dilute drinks like Gatorade or Powerade 3 or 4 parts water to 1 part sports drink. Electrolyte tabs are readily available, and can be added to a bottle of water to supplement longer activities. 

Here are some helpful resources for information about hydration for youth athletes:

"Healthy Hydration for Young Athletes," from the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA): (this is a longer article from 2018, good info)

"Hydration Fluid Replacement," from St Louis Children's Hospital: (this is a simple one page infographic)

Managers and coaches need to be aware of signs of dehydration in their players (from Children's Health, 

  • Dark urine
  • Urinating less often
  • Muscle cramps
  • Decreased sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Sunken eyes
  • Irritability
  • Sudden decline in performance
And also the signs and symptoms of heat illness (from CDC Heat Related Illness infographic):

  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  •  Fast, weak pulse
  •  Nausea or vomiting
  •  Muscle cramps
  •  Tiredness or weakness
  •  Dizziness
  •  Headache
  •  Fainting (passing out)
It's a great idea to enlist parents/families to help you look for these signs and symptoms, too. Safety is a team effort!!

California District 54 Little League

Mac Cameron, P O Box 816
El Dorado, California 95623
Phone : 916-599-0611
Email : [email protected]
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