Presented by the Minnesota Twins and organized by Nick Kennedy of the American Legion Baseball Hub of Minnesota, the Million Dollar Arm Symposium took place Sept. 16 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
The event, which was streamed live on Fox Sports North and archived, featured the following four experts who discussed best practices for rest, recovery, arm injury prevention and player development:
Jim Brower, a former Major League Baseball pitcher and current minor league pitching coordinator for the Chicago Cubs.
Dan Christoffer, a lead for Baseball/Softball Performance Program at the Mayo Clinic’s Sports Medicine Center and a former Los Angeles Dodgers athletic trainer.
Dr. Diane Dahm, an orthopedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic and the team physician for the Minnesota Twins.
Rob Fornasiere, an assistant head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, and a former ABCA Assistant Coach of the Year who recently assisted with the Team USA 18U team.
“American Legion Baseball has goals of teaching life skills and citizenship in addition to how to play baseball which differentiates us from other programs,” said Mike Perry, chairman of Minnesota’s American Legion Baseball program. “With the epidemic of arm injuries in youth baseball, Minnesota Legion Baseball wants to be in the forefront of initiating and endorsing a program that will help parents, coaches and players become educated on the risk and proper care of the arm.”
Each panelist shared a variety of experiences and tips to help develop young pitchers over the course of the 90-minute symposium to the group of over 150 attendees.
Brower discussed how the defending World Series champions prepared their minor league arms, saying, “We had over 1,000 games that I was in charge of [in 2017] and we had [only] nine pitchers hit 100 pitches in a game. We have a 110-pitch maximum professionally. We take care of arms. Do we go on the side of caution? Yes we do. We put a lot of emphasis on recovery.”
Christoffer continued in the same vein, saying, “I like that we have the pitch count now. If we are going from the top down from the professional and collegiate and being conservative there, why are we not being conservative in our youth and high school levels? It should be conservative from the bottom up.”
Dr. Dahm stressed recovery, saying, “You really want to look at the whole body. What I see a lot is someone has had an ankle injury or back injury and they feel it in their elbow because they haven’t fully rehabbed.” She later added, “One thing about recovery that people always forget is that sleep is the most important things to do to recover."
On the topic of tips he would give players, Fornasiere passed along information he heard from famous surgeon Dr. James Andrews, “Most of the research says you should take two months off from throwing each year, if not three. It is hard to do since there are so many opportunities out there and you are falling behind, but if you are going to advance in your career you need to be healthy.”
For more information on the Minnesota Arm Care Project, visit www.minnesotaarmcare.org