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Seasonal changes in body composition in collegiate baseball players

Frantz, Travis L., MDa; Van Matre, Brandon T., MAb; Palmer, Tyler S., MAb; Ruiz, Matthew D., PhDc

doi: 10.1097/BCO.0000000000000747
Original Research

Background: Body composition is a growing concern in all sports, including baseball. This study was conducted to measure changes in body composition from the beginning of the season to the end and to determine if different changes occurred in position players compared to pitchers.

Methods: Participants’ (n=29; age 19.90±1.14) body mass, body mass index (BMI), and percent body fat as estimated by skinfold calipers were recorded immediately before and after the baseball season.

Results: There was a significant decrease in weight of nearly 1 kg (P=0.02) with a corresponding decrease in BMI (P=0.02) without a change in percent body fat (P=0.31). When examined by position, significant change in percent body fat did occur between position players (−0.9%) and pitchers (+0.2%). Specifically, pitchers had increased body fat in the triceps (P=0.04), subscapular (P=0.03), and suprailiac (P=0.04) regions when compared to position players.

Conclusions: Body composition does change during the course of a baseball season, and these changes have the potential to impact performance and outcome measures as it relates to baseball. Principles of kinesiology suggest that it could significantly influence power, speed, agility, and quickness, but further study is needed to determine the practical on-field implications of the seasonal changes in body composition observed in baseball players.

aDepartment of Orthopaedics, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio

bDepartment of Athletics, Huntington University, Huntington, Indiana

cLipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee

Financial Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence to Travis L. Frantz, MD, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, 725 Prior Hall, Columbus, OH 43210 Tel: +(260) 418-4994; fax: +614-293-4755; e-mail:

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