Batting Average Assessment in Major League Baseball Players After Surgical Treatment of Hamate Hook Fractures
Andrew Z Mo, MD; Daniel Polatsch, MD; Steven Beldner, MD; Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY
Hamate hook fractures are endemic in avid baseball players. They frequently occur due to impact of the butt of the bat on the nondominant hamate hook. Pain and discomfort limits the player's ability to participate, requiring expeditious treatment to enable rapid return of function. Multiple studies have demonstrated that hamate hook excision results in reliable return of grip strength and range of motion but did not assess the effect on batting performance in elite athletes. The purpose of this study was to characterize the difference in batting average (BA) performance in professional baseball batters from the Major Leagues. Pre- and post-surgery batting averages were collected to determine if injury and its subsequent treatment had a deleterious effect on batting average performance over time.
Methods: An online search was performed identifying Major League baseball players who sustained hamate hook fractures. Sources included news articles, websites, and injured player lists. BAs were collected from both pre- and post-injury seasons. Up to 4 seasons of BAs were collected, with the average BA utilized for analysis. Data was analyzed utilizing paired T-test. Exclusion criteria included non-batting injuries and acquisition of less than 1 season of BA data, pre- and post-surgical correction.
Results: 21 competitive baseball players were initially identified. Of these, 19 met the following inclusion criteria. Players were members of Major League baseball teams who sustained hamate hook fractures from batting. They underwent surgical correction of injury and had available BA data from at least 1 season, pre- and post-injury and up to 4 years postinjury. All athletes were male, with a mean age of 26.3 years (range 23-33 years old). None of the injured players were switch hitters. Mean pre- and post-injury BAs were 0.267 and 0.264 respectively. Paired t-test revealed no statistical difference (p<0.77).
Discussion and conclusion: Professional baseball players who sustained a hamate hook fracture and underwent surgical correction returned to play with no significant differences in performance as assessed by BA. These results did not appear to deteriorate over time with no reports of reinjury.
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