Systematic Review of Outcomes Reporting in Professional Baseball: A Call for Increased Validation and Consistency

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Historically, treatment efficacy of professional baseball injuries has been determined by assessing the return-to-play (RTP) rate or using patient-reported functional outcomes scores; however, these methods may not be sensitive and specific enough for elite athletes. As a consequence, performance-based statistics are increasingly being reported in the medical literature.


To (1) assess how treatment efficacy is currently reported in professional baseball players; (2) examine the variability in the reporting of these measures in terms of frequency, length of time followed, and units of measure; and (3) identify any attempts to validate these performance-based statistics.

Study Design:

Systematic review.


All studies reporting treatment efficacy in professional baseball in PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane were identified. Data collected included frequency and method of reporting: RTP, functional outcomes, and performance-based statistics.


Fifty-four studies met all inclusion criteria. Of these, 51 (94%) reported RTP, 12 (22%) utilized functional outcomes, and 18 (33%) provided baseball-specific performance-based statistics to assess treatment efficacy. Great variability was seen in how follow-up was defined (games, seasons, months), duration of follow-up, and which performance-based statistics were utilized. None of the studies validated these performance-based statistics, determined minimal time of follow-up needed, or assessed the baseline variability in these statistics among noninjured players.


Most studies reported RTP to determine treatment efficacy, but significant variability was seen in how players were followed. Similarly, great variability was noted in the type and number of performance-based statistics utilized. Additional studies are necessary to validate these measures and determine the appropriate length of time that they should be followed.

Clinical Relevance:

This study provides a clear overview of the current methods that are used to determine treatment efficacy in professional baseball players.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles