Date of Graduation
College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences
Michelle A. Sandrey
William G. Hornsby
Jackson C. Stembridge
Context: Blood flow restriction (BFR) has previously been used in a rehabilitation setting to decrease the external load applied to post-surgical patients and those with chronic debilitating conditions. BFR in a performance context has been explored minimally, particularly as it applies to baseball pitching over time. Objective: The purpose of this study was to retrospectively investigate the trend in throwing velocity of fastballs with BFR implementation over one competitive season. Design: This study was a retrospective longitudinal design on pitching velocity of fastballs throughout a competitive season. Setting: The data collection and analysis was completed at a mid-Atlantic university. Patients or other participants: Four Division I starting baseball pitchers. Inclusion criteria were a starting baseball pitcher during the 2018-2019 season, on the official baseball roster for that season and had a sport physical on file. Exclusion criteria were any individual not meeting the inclusion criteria. Intervention: Data analysis was performed using data recorded by Trackman during home games throughout the 2018-2019 competitive baseball season. The fastball pitch velocity data was deidentified and participants were assigned a subject number. BFR was applied by the full-time baseball athletic trainer to all 4 pitchers following pitching bouts during all 60 games during the 2018-2019 baseball competitive season. The BFR occlusion protocol varied based on the limb size/arm girth of the individual, with a goal of reaching approximately 50 percent of the limb occlusive pressure. The cuff was then be inflated for five minutes with no concomitant exercise and then deflated for one minute. This process of inflation followed by deflation was repeated three times, for a total treatment duration of 18 minutes, in which, the cuff was inflated for 15 minutes. Main Outcome Measures: Pitching velocity of fastballs, number of fastballs thrown and number of innings pitched were all recorded and analyzed for each subject. Results: The highest fastball pitch velocity average was 96.0 ± 0.9 mph, which occurred during game 11 in inning 1 and inning 3 (96.0 ± 0.7 mph), pitched by subject 1. The lowest fastball pitch velocity average was 86.4 ± 1.2 mph, which occurred during game 4, inning 2 pitched by subject 2. In all games except for games 2, 6, 7, 10 and 14, the fastball pitching velocity over the game remained consistent with a slight decrease. In all games except for games 2, 6 and 15, the fastball pitching velocity averages by inning over the game remained relatively consistent with a decrease. Games 7 and 10 depicted the most consistent fastball pitches thrown over the course of a game, with no detectable increase or decrease from the line of best fit. Subject 1 pitched in four games and had the highest overall pitch velocity average throughout the 4 games with 92.45 ± 0.95 mph and was also the most consistent fastball pitcher on average. Subject 3 exhibited the second highest overall pitch velocity over a span of 5 games, with an average pitch velocity of 92.06 ± 1.2 mph. Next was subject 4, with an average pitch velocity of 88.86 ± 1.0 mph. Causality could not be determined whether the consistency in fastball velocity was related to the use of a BFR recovery treatment due to deviations from the BFR protocol outlined in the intervention. Conclusions: The number of fastballs thrown decreased throughout a single game progression, but the average number of fastballs thrown throughout the season remained consistent from game to game. The average pitching velocity of fastballs thrown remained consistent throughout individual games. Furthermore, average fastball pitching velocity remained consistent with a slight increase in throwing velocity among individual subjects.
Evans, Mackenzie Marie, "Will Pitch Velocity Remain Consistent Throughout a Competitive Baseball Season Following Blood Flow Restriction: an Observational Study" (2020). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 7522.