A controlled study on batted ball speed and available pitcher reaction time in slowpitch softball. (17/105)

OBJECTIVES: To investigate safety risks in slowpitch softball by conducting laboratory and experimental studies on the performance of high tech softball bats with polyurethane softballs. To compare the results with the recommended safety standards. METHODS: ASTM standard compression testing of seven softball models was conducted. Using these seven softball models, bat/ball impact testing was performed using seven adult male softball players and six high tech softball bat models to determine mean batted ball speeds. Over 500 bat/ball impact measurements were recorded and analysed. Available pitcher reaction time was calculated from the mean batted ball speed measurements. RESULTS: According to the United States Specialty Sports Association and the Amateur Softball Association, the maximum initial batted ball speed should be 137.2 km/h, which corresponds to a minimum pitcher reaction time of 0.420 second. These experiments produced mean batted ball speeds of 134.0-159.7 km/h, which correspond to available pitcher reaction times of 0.409-0.361 second. CONCLUSION: The use of high tech softball bats with polyurethane softballs can result in batted ball speeds that exceed the recommended safety limits, which correspond to decreased available pitcher reaction times.  (+info)

Trajectory interpretation by supplementary eye field neurons during ocular baseball. (18/105)

Good performance in the sport of baseball shows that humans can determine the trajectory of a moving object and act on it under the constraint of a rule. We report here on neuronal activity in the supplementary eye field (SEF) of monkeys performing an eye movement task inspired by baseball. In "ocular baseball," a pursuit eye movement to a target is executed or withheld based on the target's trajectory. We found that a subset of neurons in the SEF interpreted the trajectory according to the task rule. Other neurons specified at a later time the command to pursue the target with the eyes. The results suggest that the SEF can interpret sensory signals about target motion in the context of a rule to guide voluntary eye movement initiation.  (+info)

Timing finger opening in overarm throwing based on a spatial representation of hand path. (19/105)

Previous studies on overarm throwing have suggested that throwing accuracy depends on a precise central timing mechanism. In the present study, we investigated an alternative hypothesis: that central control of finger opening is based on an internal positional representation of handpath. Angular positions of each segment of the middle finger, thumb, and arm were recorded with the search-coil technique as subjects made slow, medium, and fast throws at a target 3.1 m away. Onset of ball release from the hand was strongly correlated with extension at the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIJ). The velocity of this finger joint opening varied with the speed of the throw. In agreement with the hypothesis, at a fixed hand angular position in space, there was no difference across subjects in the amplitude of extension at the PIJ for throws of different speeds. That is, for these two parameters, a fast throw was the same as a slow throw that was sped-up. This occurred irrespective of whether the trunk was constrained (sitting throws) or unconstrained (standing throws). No equivalent relation was found between extension at the PIJ and elbow extension. These findings support the idea that precisely timed finger opening in overarm throwing depends, not on a central timing controller that triggers a step-like (ballistic) finger opening at the right moment in throws of different speeds, but on a central spatial controller that matches angular positions of finger opening to the intended handpath.  (+info)

Impact of height and weight on life span. (20/105)

The study was conducted to evaluate one aspect of the entropy theory of aging, which hypothesizes that aging is the result of increasing disorder within the body, and which predicts that increasing mass lowers life span. The first evaluation of the impact of human size on longevity or life span in 1978, which was based on data for decreased groups of athletes and famous people in the USA, suggested that shorter, lighter men live longer than their taller, heavier counterparts. In 1990, a study of 1679 decreased men and women from the general American population supported these findings. In the present study data on the height, weight, and age at death of 373 men were obtained from records at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, San Diego, CA, USA. Men of height 175.3 cm or less lived an average of 4.95 years longer than those of height over 175.3 cm, while men of height 170.2 cm or less lived 7.46 years longer than those of at least 182.9 cm. An analysis by weight difference revealed a 7.72-year greater longevity for men of weight 63.6 kg or less compared with those of 90.9 kg or more. This corroborates earlier evidence and contradicts the popular notion that taller people are healthier. While short stature due to malnutrition or illness is undesirable, our study suggests that feeding children for maximum growth and physical development may not add to and may indeed be harmful to their long-term health and longevity.  (+info)

Interventions to prevent softball related injuries: a review of the literature. (21/105)

OBJECTIVES: To examine the published evidence on interventions to prevent softball related injuries among adults, and to encourage more epidemiologic research as a foundation for future softball injury prevention efforts. METHODS: The authors reviewed literature identified from six electronic databases for studies on softball related injuries. The search was limited to studies written in the English language, published between 1970 and 2002, and involving adult populations. Research was excluded that evaluated baseball ("hard ball") related injuries or was aimed at injury treatment. Identified studies were categorized by study design. Intervention/prevention papers were evaluated further and described in detail. RESULTS: The search strategy identified 39 studies specifically related to softball. Most studies were case reports/case series (n=13) or descriptive studies (n=11); only four were analytic or intervention/prevention studies. Studies collected data in a variety of ways, often without denominator data to permit calculation of injury rates. Studies also did not differentiate between slow or fast pitch softball activities and most did not mention the type of softball that was used. CONCLUSIONS: Surprisingly few studies exist on interventions to reduce injuries during softball, one of the most popular recreational sports in the US. Of the existing literature, much attention has been on sliding related injuries, which comprise only a segment of softball injuries. Basic epidemiologic studies describing the nature, severity, and risk factors for softball injuries in a variety of populations are needed, followed by additional intervention evaluation studies aimed at modifiable risk factors.  (+info)

Thrower's fracture of the humerus with radial nerve palsy: an unfamiliar softball injury. (22/105)

A fracture of the normal humerus in a healthy young adult most commonly results from significant direct trauma. Throwing sports have become increasingly popular outside of North America and bring with them a novel injury mechanism for clinicians. A 21 year old woman sustained a "thrower's fracture" of the distal humerus and radial nerve palsy while throwing a softball. She was treated by internal fixation. Her fracture united, and radial nerve neurapraxia resolved after 8 weeks. Clinicians should be aware of this entity so that prodromal symptoms can be recognised early and thrower's fractures are not investigated unnecessarily.  (+info)

Evolution of the treatment options of ulnar collateral ligament injuries of the elbow. (23/105)

Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) insufficiency is potentially a career threatening, or even a career ending, injury, particularly in overhead throwing athletes. The evolution of treating modalities provides afflicted athletes with the opportunity to avoid premature retirement. There have been several clinical and basic science research efforts which have investigated the pathophysiology of UCL disruption, the biomechanics specific to overhead throwing, and the various types of treatment modalities. UCL reconstruction is currently the most commonly performed surgical treatment option. An in depth analysis of the present treatment options, both non-operative and operative, as well as their respective results and biomechanical evaluation, is lacking in the literature to date. This article provides a comprehensive current review and comparative analysis of these modalities. Over the last 30 years there has been an evolution of the original UCL reconstruction. Yet, despite the variability in modifications, such as the docking technique, interference screw fixation, and use of suture anchors, the unifying concepts of UCL reconstruction are that decreased dissection of the flexor-pronator mass and decreased handling of the ulnar nerve leads to improved outcomes.  (+info)

Failure of commercially available chest wall protectors to prevent sudden cardiac death induced by chest wall blows in an experimental model of commotio cordis. (24/105)

OBJECTIVE: Sudden cardiac death that results from chest wall blows (commotio cordis) the second leading cause of death in young athletes. Most events are caused by blows from projectiles, such as baseballs or lacrosse balls, with a substantial proportion occurring despite the use of a chest protector. In the present experiment, we tested the effectiveness of commercially available chest protectors in preventing ventricular fibrillation (VF) that results from chest wall strikes with baseballs and lacrosse balls. METHODS: Twelve different baseball or lacrosse chest protectors were evaluated in juvenile swines that were subjected to 40-mph baseball or lacrosse ball blows to the precordium during the vulnerable period of repolarization for VF and were compared with control impacts without chest protectors. Seven baseball chest protectors were hit by regulation baseballs, and 5 lacrosse chest protectors were tested by blows with standard lacrosse balls. Each animal received 2 chest blows for each protector and 2 control impacts without a chest protector, with the sequence of impacts assigned randomly. RESULTS: VF was elicited by 12 (32%) of 37 strikes in control animals without baseball chest protectors. None of the baseball chest wall protectors tested were shown to decrease significantly the occurrence of VF when compared with controls. VF was elicited by 11 (46%) of 24 strikes in control animals without lacrosse chest protectors. None of the lacrosse chest wall protectors tested decreased significantly the occurrence of VF when compared with controls. CONCLUSION: In our experimental animal model of commotio cordis, commercially available baseball and lacrosse chest wall protectors were ineffective in protecting against VF that was triggered by chest blows and, by inference, sudden cardiac death. Improvements in materials and design of chest wall barriers are necessary to reduce the occurrence of these tragic events and make the athletic field safer for youths.  (+info)