WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GARAY
The Public School Athletic League (PSAL) has implemented a pitch count limit among junior varsity and varsity pitchers in public schools.
The City’s high school students who play baseball have been for some time enduring injuries to the arm.
Reportedly, there have been no serious injuries — but the city wants to take the proper precautions.
The new pitch count policy that will take effect next season restricts a pitcher to no more than 90 pitches per game for junior varsity players and 105 is the limit per game for varsity throwers.
Once a pitcher arrives at his limit he is removed from the game. However, if he is in the middle of the count, he would be allowed to complete the rest of the at-bat.
The Department of Education (DOE) realizes that kids love baseball and it’s a part of the fabric of the city. The PSAL has been taking heat from the city council as well as furious parents.
So the only option for the PSAL coaches and medical experts in orthopedics and sports medicine was to take swift and immediate action.
The PSAL started a partnership with notable hospitals like NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases and Bellevue Hospital.
Everybody will be accountable for a pitcher’s game status. Everyone from the coaches to the The Deputy Chancellor of operations Kathleen Grimm who in a recent statement said: “We want our students to participate in high school sports and lead healthy, active lifestyles.
“At the same time, we want to prevent long-term injuries and we believe limiting pitch counts will achieve this and at the same time keep the sport competitive.
“The safety of our students is a top priority.”
Baseball fans have to be pleased that the PSAL has taken these professional baseball-like provisions for the future of their young players.
For varsity pitchers for instance, they will be required to rest for four consecutive days after throwing more than 90 pitches in a single game, three days if they throw between 76 to 90, two days if they thrown between 51 to 75 times, and one day if they’ve thrown between 26 to 50 times in a game.
For junior varsity pitchers, a more stringent pitch count will have to be adhered.
They will be required to rest for four consecutive days if they throw more than 81 pitches in a single game, three days if they pitch between 61 and 79 pitches, two days if they throw between 41 to 60 pitches and one day if they throw between 21 and 40 pitches.
PSAL executive director Donald Douglas believes in the preservation and quality of the sport of baseball among the city’s youth.
He released a statement saying: “Baseball is a popular sport in our schools and we want to make sure our student athletes are playing to the best of their ability without getting serious long-term injuries and the limit on pitch counts aims to do just that.”
The junior and varsity schedules are grueling and can obviously come with injuries.
According to the director of the Office of School Health, Dr. Roger Platt: “Sports injuries in high school can affect a student throughout his adulthood and that is why it is important for coaches and the PSAL to monitor their players.”
Finally a time has come where the health and well being of the individual, particularly the sports individual, has been sympathized with and addressed.
The long term and dangerous effects of strenuos pitching have at last outweighed the coaches unconcerned dispositon and our school/city hierarchy acknowlegdge the glaring problem and are making a team effort with our hospitals.
Council member Peter F. Vallone captured the meaning of why this route is necessary: “It’s not so much keeping track of pitches, but keeping our kids on track towards a healthy and safe future.”