Reds' doc: "We know better than to allow Little Leaguers to throw curveballs"
Dr. Timothy Kremchek is the medical director for the Cincinnati Reds and has performed surgeries on such major league pitchers as Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood. He recently operated on the arm of USC's Arik Hempy.
Kremchek is nationally renowned for providing surgeries through the Beacon Orthopedics & Sports Medicine center in Cincinnati. He also has been the leading advocate nationally for legislation and education of coaches and parents about the overuse of pitchers’ arms in youth baseball.
Kremchek recently agreed to a question-and-answer session by telephone with staff writer Ron Morris of The (S.C.) State newspaper.
Question: Little League Baseball and Dixie Youth Baseball suggest that curveballs not be thrown, but neither has a rule against it for 11- and 12-year olds. Is that enough? And what do you think when you watch the Little League World Series on TV?
Answer: It is disgusting. I don’t watch it anymore. I saw a kid a couple of years ago, that’s all he threw was curveballs. I would love to see what happens to him in three years. You might as well watch some parent hitting his kid. Knowing what we know and what we are preaching, and then to watch a kid throw a curveball at that age. ... It made me sick. I’m against it. It should be illegal at age 12. They should have pitch counts and no curveballs. It’s a serious abuse of pitchers. ... The future of these kids in baseball is very dismal. That makes me absolutely sick. I can become violently ill watching that. It kills me. We are watching 12-year-olds with sponsorships, ESPN coverage, immense peer pressure, the over-desire to win at age 12. Who really gives a (darn) at age 12? That kid on the mound thinks he can pitch in the major leagues one day, and God bless him, but his chances are almost zero, because no one is telling him the truth. That is absolute child abuse on public display. At age 11, these kids are the best pitchers because they can throw curveballs. At age 14, they are watching the other kids play. By and large, we know better than that, and the people around him know better than to do that.
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