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Title: The immediate effect of sham laser and three different spinal manipulative protocols on the throwing speed of baseball players in the KwaZulu-Natal Baseball Union
Authors: Robson, Michael 
Keywords: Baseball;Baseball Pitching;Biomechanics;Chiropractic;Chiropractic Adjustment;Performance;Pitching Biomechanics;Spinal Manipulation Therapy;Spine;Throwing;Sport Biomechanics
Issue Date: 2018


Baseball pitching is a whole body ballistic movement that requires transfer of energy from the lower extremity to the upper extremity via the trunk. Adverse changes can occur within the surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscular tissue of the trunk when immobilization or restricted motion within a joint segment occurs. Improper transfer of energy is thought to cause abnormal stresses on the joints and may lead to injury and/or decreased performance. Spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) was the focus of this study, aimed to improve flexibility and joint mobility (Range of motion), thereby allowing for a more efficient closed kinetic chain movement, which could result in a faster speed of the baseball pitch.

To determine and compare the immediate effect of placebo and SMT of the thoracic and lumbar spines in respects of range of motion (ROM) and the velocity of the pitching participants.

Fourty asymptomatic baseball players were divided randomly into four groups. Group A received thoracic spine manipulation, Group B received lumbar spine manipulation, Group C received combined thoracic and lumbar spine manipulation and Group D received the sham laser intervention as a placebo controlled group. Pre- and post- intervention trunk flexion and lateral flexion ROM and pitching speeds were measured, using a digital inclinometer and a radar gun respectively. A subjective measurement of the participant’s perception of a change in pitching speed post-intervention was also recorded. SPSS version 23 was used to analyse the data.

There was a significant increase in pitching speed in the SMT interventions groups (p<0.05). However, between the SMT and placebo groups they were not considered significantly different at 5% (p>0.05). A significant increase in Thoracic RLAT ROM was noticed on the inter-group analysis (p<0.05). There was no correlation seen between
subjects’ perception of change in throwing speed post-intervention and the objective results obtained.

The immediate effect of SMT on baseball pitching speed was inconclusive. The outcome of this study suggests that SMT results in an increase in the average speed of baseball pitching but not at a level of statistical significance.
Submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for the Master's degree in Technology: Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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