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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relationship between baseball participation and health (musculoskeletal, general, and psychological health) and to identify research gaps in the existing literature. DESIGN: Systematic scoping review. LITERATURE SEARCH: Medical databases and gray literature were systematically searched from inception to November 2018. STUDY SELECTION CRITERIA: All studies that investigated constructs related to the health of current or former baseball players were included. DATA SYNTHESIS: Data were extracted for thematic summaries. RESULTS: Ten thousand five hundred seventy-four titles/abstracts were screened, and 678 studies were included. Ninety percent of articles included only baseball players playing in the United States, 34% of articles investigated professional baseball players, and 11% studied college baseball players. Five hundred eighty-three (86%) studies investigated musculoskeletal health, 77 (11%) general health, and 18 (3%) psychological health. Injury incidence (injuries per 1000 athlete exposures) ranged from 0.7 to 3.6 in professional, 4.7 to 5.8 in college, and 0.8 to 4.0 in high school baseball. Among baseball players, 31% to 50% reported regular tobacco use. There was limited research investigating psychological health in current or former baseball players at all competition levels. CONCLUSION: Almost 90% of all articles investigated musculoskeletal health, with few articles studying general or psychological health. Baseball players have high tobacco, alcohol, and drug use compared to the general population, which may have negative health outcomes. Little is understood about the long-term musculoskeletal, general, and psychological health of baseball players. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2020;50(2):55-66. doi:10.2519/jospt.2020.9281.

Original publication




Journal article


J orthop sports phys ther

Publication Date





55 - 66


injury, mental health, quality of life, Alcohol Drinking, Baseball, Competitive Behavior, Health Status, Humans, Mental Health, Musculoskeletal System, Prevalence, Quality of Life, Smoking, Substance-Related Disorders, United States