Menon, S., Witte, K. A., Novakovich, P. M., Andrews, J. R., & Russell, E. M. (2013). Compression shirts decrease pain and improve performance in youth pitchers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2167.

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This study evaluated the efficacy of a compression shirt on fatigue, pain, and performance over the course of 60 pitches in youth and young adult baseball pitchers (N = 15). Ss threw 60 pitches in each of two conditions: a “shirt” and no shirt (control) condition. The shirt was compressive garment with stabilizing “webbing” on the posterior portion. Testing sessions were one week apart and the order of the conditions was randomized between Ss. Pitching speed was averaged every 10 pitches. Visual Analog Scales of pain and the Borg Scale Ratings of Perceived Exertion were collected after each set of 10 pitches.

Pitching performance improved significantly when wearing a shirt (approximately 1 mph), being significantly faster when compared to the control condition. The increase in pitch velocity was seen almost immediately after the first 10 pitches and at intervals through the final 60 pitches. As pitch count increased, pain also increased in both conditions however, the development of pain over time was significantly less when Ss wore the compression garment. Fatigue also significantly increased as pitch count mounted but the exertion ratings were not different between conditions.

Implication. Compression shirts with stabilizing webbing enabled pitchers to delay or prevent the onset of pain from pitching multiple innings while concurrently improving performance.

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