Former Braves pitcher and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, John Smoltz, has begun speaking out publicly as part of his personal crusade against the use of radar guns in youth sports.
Smoltz, one of the most influential voices in baseball, spoke at the Youth Sports Health Symposium to shine a spotlight on the use of radar guns and the growing number of ‘Tommy John’ surgeries.
Having had Tommy John surgery himself in 2000, Smoltz identifies how dangerous and stressful throwing at full force can be for the body.
He believes that radar guns encourage young players to throw with maximum force before their bodies are fully developed.
“I never saw a radar gun until I was in high school. Now these kids are all throwing with max effort, and they’re getting hurt at younger ages than ever,” said Smotlz.
Smotlz is not alone in believing radar guns should be eliminated from youth tournaments. Statistics and science are supporting his claim.
More and more young athletes are now pitching year-round, without a period to recover, and as a result overuse injuries have increased ten-fold since 2010.
Smotlz has made it a personal mission to speak out on the topic to bring awareness and spark a discussion.
“I would ask every organization to put it away, quit using it for social media, quit using it for guidelines for kids to see how hard they throw. To me, if you abolish the radar gun and only let the true scouts dictate what that is, I think you do the sport a service for the young kids who are trying to throw as hard as they can. I think that would help.”
Do you agree with Smoltz – should we eliminate the use of radar guns during youth tournaments? Let us know in the comments section below.
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