Injury Epidemic In Youth Baseball

Victor Guadalupe loves baseball. The 12-year-old is a star on the team coached by his father Armando in the Long Beach, Calif. little leagues.

AS CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen reports, he's lucky to be on the field.

Last year, after the season was over, a simple game of catch turned painful.

"It felt like the bone separated, like a breaking rubber band or something," says Victor of his growth plate injury.

"When he threw the pitch this little piece of bone snapped off," says surgeon Timothy Gibson.

Gibson inserted a screw in Victor's elbow to repair the break, an injury due to repetitive throwing. It's a problem that's become all too common among young athletes.

"And I will say without question in the last five years the number of overuse injuries in kids has risen dramatically," says Gibson.

So what's going on? Kids are throwing more pitches because they're playing more baseball. Focusing on this one sport year around, sometimes playing for more than one team at the same time.

So, how serious is this overuse problem?

"I think it's an epidemic," says former major league pitcher Tom House.

House chooses to characterize the problem as an epidemic, he says, because he wants people to be scared. House trains pitchers of all ages in the mechanics of healthy throwing.

"Everybody snap their fingers for me,'' he says to a group of young pitchers. "If you're twisting and untwisting your elbow in the time frame, you're going to blow your elbow out."