Although injuries in baseball can sometimes threaten the careers of players, they are much more often of the nagging variety—just bad enough to keep players off the field and just severe enough to require a lengthy recovery period.
Here is a list of the five most nagging yet debilitating injuries in baseball.
1) Pulled Hamstring
Whenever baseball fans hear that a player on their favorite team has suffered a pulled hamstring, they can only hope that the severity of the injury is not extreme.
A pulled hamstring, which is a strain of the large muscle on the back of the thigh, is one of the most common injuries in baseball. The game of baseball requires players to frequently run at top speed and then stop suddenly. They also must make turns on the basepaths at high speeds. Both of those activities can frequently result in a pulled hamstring.
There are three grades to a pulled hamstring, ranging from mild to severe, and it is even possible to completely tear the muscle.
It is almost impossible to put a timetable on the recovery period that a pulled hamstring requires. The fact that players intensively use that muscle in all aspects of the game means that it must be completely healed before a player can return to the field.
While a pulled hamstring is not a horrific injury by any means, it can often sideline a player for weeks at a time.
2) Sprained Ankle
An ankle sprain is another one of those injuries that does not sound very bad but can result in a player being unable to take the field for a lengthy period of time.
Similar to a pulled hamstring, ankle sprains range in damage from mild to to severe.
Considering that a baseball player's ankles are subjected to substantial torque and pressure while performing a wide range of activities on the field, it is easy to see why an ankle sprain can sideline a player for a considerable amount of time.
A sprained ankle is one injury that can affect any player on the baseball diamond regardless of the position they play.
Unlike the previous two injuries discussed above, tendinitis is usually an injury exclusive to pitchers. That is not to say that position players cannot get tendinitis, but it is much more common among the pitching staffs of teams.
Tendinitis can affect different parts of a pitcher's arm. Most commonly, tendinitis occurs in the elbow and shoulder areas of the arm.
Recovery time for a case of tendinitis is once again contingent on the severity of the injury. However, even the most mild cases of tendinitis usually require a minimum of a couple weeks to fully heal.
Tendinitis is also usually not a reoccurring injury. Once a pitcher fully heals from one case of the injury, he is usually able to stay healthy from that point on.
Concussions are currently one of the most talked-about injuries in sports today. A major issue in contact sports such as football, concussions are also present in non-contact sports such as baseball.
Calling baseball a non-contact sport can sometimes be misleading. While baseball does not require any hard contact between players, there are plenty of situations in which contact cannot be avoided.
Situations such as sliding into bases and leaping into walls to make a catch are just two examples of plays that can cause concussions in baseball.
The Minnesota Twins' first baseman Justin Morneau is one case of a severe concussion in baseball. A knee to the head while sliding into second base cost Morneau a large majority of the 2011 season.
Although they are somewhat uncommon in baseball, a concussion can lead to months of sitting on the bench for a player unlucky enough to suffer one.
5) Oblique Strains
No baseball fan wants to hear that a player on their favorite team has suffered an oblique strain. They most commonly occur in pitchers, but more and more batters have started to suffer the injury.
The oblique muscle is unique in that it runs the entire length of a player's torso and is specifically used in the rotation of the body. One only has to watch a pitcher's delivery to see that rotation is a vital part of throwing a baseball.
The same can be said of a player batting. Without being able to rotate fully, a player can not succeed in baseball.
When a player suffers an oblique strain, there is a minimum period of between six and eight weeks required for the injury to heal before a player can even return to baseball activities. Needless to say, an oblique strain is not an injury that any baseball player ever wants to experience.
While there are injuries in baseball that are extremely severe and even career-threatening, such as a torn ACL or a ligament tear leading to Tommy John surgery, there are also injuries that simply take a long time to heal. They are not necessarily very painful, but they are certainly a pain in the side of fans and the player alike.
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