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Has the condensed 2020 season caught up with major leaguers in 2021?

The Boston Globe discusses the increase in injuries of Major League Baseball (MLB) players and its potential connection to the playing schedule over the last year according to HSS sports medicine surgeon Stephen Fealy, MD and others.

To what degree the start-stop-start-stop schedule of 2020 will have on knee and elbow ligaments this season is to be determined. It’s something teams spend the winter researching and trying to prepare for. But without a similar event to look back on, it was a lot of guesswork. “The usual cadence of training was disrupted,” said Dr. Fealy. “It seems like there are more sprains and strains, but it’s too early to officially say that. We’re seeing a lot of oblique and hamstring strains but haven’t seen MCL strains increase. There’s no playbook for this.”

Dr. Fealy referred to what happened last season as “de-training.” Team doctors and athletic trainers were split on how best to handle it. Initially, all teams instructed their pitchers to remain on a regular schedule. But as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, some teams cut way back on throwing programs. “How best to protect arms is something that’s always evolving,” noted Dr. Fealy. “These are finely tuned athletes across the board and the demands on them are hard to maintain.” He added, “For pitchers especially, this is new. Their cadence is off. Everybody I speak to on the medical side of this is watching to see what happens.”

Read the full article at Bostonglobe.com. This article also appeared in print on April 25, 2021.