Rotator Cuff Tears in Athletes Who Throw


Rotator Cuff Tears pic
Rotator Cuff Tears

As lead team physician for the Los Angeles Rams and the director of primary care sports medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, Casey Batten, MD, relies on more than a decade of experience in sports medicine. Moreover, Dr. Casey Batten draws on an in-depth knowledge of common athletic injuries, including various shoulder injuries.

For pitchers and other athletes who engage in frequent overhand throwing, shoulder injuries are a common risk. One such injury is a tearing of the rotator cuff tendon, which undergoes high levels of stress in the follow-through of a throw.

The rotator cuff helps to keep the arm in the shoulder joint by attaching the humerus to the shoulder blade. The tendons’ role is to cover the head of the humerus so that a person can lift and rotate his or her arm. Repetitive performance of these movements can cause the tendon to fray and, ultimately, tear, either partially or fully.

A partial tear will leave the tendon attached to the bone, but a full-thickness tear will cause a complete separation. Either can be the result of degeneration over time or an acute injury, such as a fall or lifting something beyond one’s level of strength.

Approximately 80 percent of patients can recover without surgery. For these individuals, a combination of medication, rest, and strengthening exercises help to return function. For those whose pain or function do not improve, surgery may be necessary.


Renewed Urgency in Addressing Sports Concussions


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Dr. Casey Batten is a well-established sports medicine professional who serves as the Los Angeles Rams’ lead medical team physician and also holds leadership responsibilities at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Institute. Among Dr. Casey Batten’s areas of extensive knowledge are musculoskeletal issues and concussion management care.

As reported in Forbes, a renewed spotlight has been placed on the preventable scope of sports concussions following the recent suicide of Tyler Hilinski. After the Washington State quarterback took his life, it was revealed that he was suffering from early-stage chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which resulted in a brain condition similar to that of a person in his 60s.

CTE is typically caused by multiple head injuries and includes major symptoms such as depression. With the young brain being more susceptible to concussions and with impacts lasting longer than in the adult brain, a key question centers on the appropriate age at which to start playing collision-oriented sports, such as tackle football.

Another focus is on developing next-generation helmets that accomplish more than simply guarding against skull fractures. New technologies being developed effectively displace energy waves that reach the head and minimize the concussive impacts of hard hits, while others enable the helmets to slip off one another at impact.

One major step that has reduced concussions at the professional level in recent years involves the NFL taking a much stricter stance against “extraneous blows to the head.” However, it is up to coaches to teach young players to tackle and block without using the head to avoid further concussive injuries.

American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Names Award Recipients



Since 2016, Dr. Casey Batten has served as lead medical-team physician for the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL and as Director of Primary Care Sports Medicine for the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Institute in Los Angeles. To help him remain current in his field, Casey Batten, MD, maintains membership with the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), where he also sits on the membership committee.

Formed in 1991, the AMSSM seeks to establish a relationship among sports-medicine physicians and patients. Its mission is to advance sports medicine through education, advocacy, and research in order that patients receive the best in care.

Each year, the AMSSM hosts a meeting where it presents awards for research and investigation. The 27th annual meeting took place on April 28, 2018, at the Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Some of the awards were the following:

* Jason Zaremski, MD, earned the best overall research award for his study on pitch counts among high school baseball pitchers.

* Andrea Kussman, MD, earned the Harry Galanty Young Investigator Award for her study on female athletes and the relationship between risk-assessment scores during pre-event physical exams and the risk of bone-stress injury in collegiate distance runners.

* Steven Carek, MD, earned the NCAA Research Award for interventricular septum measurements when it comes to the screening of collegiate athletes.