By Dr. Christopher Ahmad
Baseball Health Network
In baseball, we have reached epidemic levels of players needing Tommy John Surgery. At the Major League level, one in four pitchers has had Tommy John as a result of tearing their ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL. Unfortunately, these numbers translate to many younger players needing the surgery as well. To help combat the issues facing America’s pastime, I, along with Frank Alexander and Charlie Ahmad put our heads together and wrote Understanding Tommy John Surgery and How To Avoid It: A Guide for Young Baseball Players.
To reverse these epidemic trends our goal is to start changing the culture at the youth levels before bad habits develop, similar to how we educate children on the dangers of smoking. In our office, we’re seeing younger and younger players walk through the door at an alarming rate. We hope that by educating younger athletes, they won’t wind up in our office when they’re older.
Adds Frank, “I remember playing and even when I worked at the college level, guys walked around the clubhouse or dugout with their scar from Tommy John as a badge of honor. They viewed it as a rite of passage. No player should ever want to have surgery and it’s time that we change that line of thinking.”
Understanding Tommy John dives into the anatomy of the elbow, what the process is like when a player gets injured, and offers tips and tricks for youth baseball players to stay healthy. By taking action earlier, players can make better decisions and avoid injury by understanding how the elbow works and what mistakes can be avoided before they land in our office!