MLB Playoffs: Will This Year Be Decided by Sports Injuries?

To read the full story by Sports Injuries Lead Writer Will Carroll featured on the BleacherReport.com, please click here.

It’s rare that winners and losers are not decided by talent, coaching, and hard work.  In fact, to even be on the rotation at this point in the baseball season, athletes usually have to prove they can compete and win at the highest level.  This year, though, several MLB teams are looking at lengthy lists of player names on their disabled lists.  In fact, it seems like teams remaining healthy and avoiding sports injuries are at a big advantage!

As the League Championship Series approaches, all four teams are putting a lot of trust in their medical staffs.  Arm injuries to hip injuries, the sports medicine keeping these athletes in the rotation is impressive.  Hamstring and lower back injuries are the most common injuries this late in the season, but other muscle injuries pop up, too.

According to Dr. Tim Kremchek, the Medical Director for the Cincinnati Reds, and renown Tommy John surgeon, the players arrive well before game times to stretch out and warm up.  In fact, many of the trainers will pull players out of the dugout in between innings to stretch out again.  Kremchek added that players might get some time to relax during the regular season, “but not in the playoffs.”

Fatigue and overuse are two common causes of baseball injuries, even at the MLB level.  Kremchek recommended monitoring young players, especially the pitchers.  Developing baselines and looking for mechanical changes in pitches is crucial.  When young pitchers are in the playoffs for the first time, their mechanics are already different due to their level of discomfort.

Teams are then faced with tough analysis to determine if a veteran player, while injured, will still play better than a young, healthy, inexperienced player.  Adapting to the level of pressure that comes with a League Championship Series is something only experience can teach.  If an injured player exacerbates a problem, though, a team risks losing them for the World Series.  The decisions are often as bad as the injuries at this point in the season.