Mayo Clinic physical therapists find a way to help youth baseball and softball players avoid injury

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Ben Erickson is a pitcher who is still recovering from an injury.

“I injured my shoulder, I had a slap tear,” Erickson explained.

Throwing a baseball or softball can lead to many different injures, if kids aren’t taught the right way.

That’s why physical therapists from Mayo Clinic decided to take things into their own hands.

Ben Hanan, an assistant physical therapist at Mayo, said, “It just kind of came out of necessity. You know We’re starting to grow our sports medicine program in Mayo and Onalaska and this is something you see quite a bit of.”

A physical exam can spot the problem but doesn’t necessarily find the solution.

“Sometimes, it’s a matter of seeing them actually in action to know what we have to fix,” Hanan said.

In this gym, physical therapists record athletes throwing so they can slow the video down and break down throwing form.

“It’s a huge tool for us. The speed of the camera and then just the technology to be able to have it side by side and show them the differences that they’re making.”

The program isn’t designed to teach the kids how to pitch. Rather, it helps with mechanics to prevent injuries.

“I probably wouldn’t be playing baseball because my shoulder wouldn’t have healed correctly and it would still be hurting and I wouldn’t be able to throw,” Erickson said

Thanks to this program, Ben is back out on the mound.

“I’ve gotten quite a bit better and I mean there are still some small technical things but just the amount of things I’ve learned is mind-blowing.”

Ben is still working on the perfect pitch, but thanks to these physical therapists he’s got a healthy arm to put in the work. Kade Overton, News 8 Now.