Study looks to identify pitch injury indicators

It has become an unspoken guideline in baseball to pull a starting pitcher from a game after 100 pitches.

“Do as the winners do,” says senior Sports Medicine major Zachary Jacobson, who has been heavily involved in a research project on the topic from the beginning. “It has just become accepted.”

The research will look to identify “indicators for injury” and to see “if there is actually a change in the biomechanics of the actual pitching technique,” he explains.

“[The] goal is to provide information to allow coaches from the major leagues all the way down to little league to make decisions to prevent injuries,” states Bradley Jacobson.

There is no significant research behind this theory of a 100-pitch limit.

Tim Cooney of UPMC-Hamot and Kevin Cooney of Erie Shriners Hospital recognized there was no concrete data behind this practice. They approached Bradley Jacobson, Chairman of the Sports Medicine Department at Mercyhurst University and Zachary Jacobson’s father.

Combined with the Movement Analysis Lab of Shriners Hospital and UPMC-Hamot’s blood work and biomarker capabilities, the research study would be possible.

This February, the data was collected for the study, which has been in preparation for 18 months so far. Start to finish, it will probably take another 18 months to analyze all of the data and develop a product for publication.

Over the course of the study has allowed three graduate level Exercise Science majors and up to 20 undergraduate sports medicine majors to gain valuable experience in the field of research.

Bradley Jacobson comments, “We tell our students you are the department.”

“[This is an] example of the opportunities that can occur because the university has fostered the chance,” Brad Jacobson said. The relationship that has developed with Shriners Hospital and UPMC-Hamot provides increased opportunity for more research opportunities in the future.