Tommy John Surgery Newsbeat
Sunday, July 10, 2016
Boz examines pitching philosophies:
The Nats put the arms of Strasburg and Jordan Zimmerman, now a Tiger, ahead of short-term considerations. Those two are guaranteed to make more than $340 million in their careers. All five of the current young Mets starters combined, including Wheeler, are assured 1/30th of that. Is that exploitation? Do the Mets want to “win now” too much? Or the Nats too little?
Strasburg is 12-0, but it’ll take a few years to see how this turns out.
Monday, June 27, 2016
When Garrett Richards left his last outing at Texas on May 1, he felt arm fatigue. The club said he was dehydrated and cramping. A subsequent MRI revealed rather he had torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, a setback that requires Tommy John ligament replacement surgery for most pitchers.
The standard recovery takes up to 18 months.
Richards, instead, hopes to avoid the daunting post-surgery timetable and pitch again in a potential wild-card race thanks to a stem-cell shot he received last month from Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.
“It’s an option, and I decided to take it,” Richards said. “Why not?”
So, on May 16, Yoon extracted bone marrow from Richards, concentrated it and injected the mixture back into the UCL in his elbow, aiming to repair the injured ligament.
Friday, May 27, 2016
Six years ago, Yoon began treating partial UCL tears with platelet-rich plasma injections, wherein a patient’s blood is spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets, which contain healing elements that are then injected into the affected area.
Yoon found that PRP worked for about 50 percent of patients. But in that time he also experimented with the use of stem cells from concentrated bone marrow and “noticed that the success rates, anecdotally, were much higher with regards to pitchers going back to throwing, and not having to undergo surgery.”
Yoon estimates that he has performed stem-cell procedures on 15 to 20 Major League pitchers and that “less than 50 percent” ultimately needed Tommy John surgery, though he is not allowed to reveal the names of his patients. The results can be misleading, in both directions, because success is contingent on the type of tear and the amount of time allotted for healing.
Dr. David Crane, who specializes in regenerative therapy for Blue Tail Medical Group in the Midwest, said he has done about 50 of these stem-cell procedures since 2004, the vast majority of them for pitchers in high school and college. About five were Major Leaguers, and Crane said only one wound up needing Tommy John surgery. He claims to have a 90-percent success rate overall, but he is also picky with the patients he chooses.
Said Crane: “If it’s a partial tear, and they still have the healing potential, and the stem cells from bone marrow are good, it’s a useful tool.”
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Major League Baseball pitchers who throw a high percentage of fastballs may be at increased risk for Tommy John surgery, according to research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Researchers suggest that throwing fastballs nearly half of the time puts pitchers at risk of injury to their elbow. MLB pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery threw on average 7 percent more fastballs than pitchers who had no surgery.
Researchers found no statistical differences in other pitch types like curveballs, sliders and change-ups. They also found no correlation between pitch velocity and risk of injury.
The findings are published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.
“Our findings suggest that throwing a high percentage of fastballs rather than off-speed pitches puts more stress on the elbow,” says Robert Keller, M.D., chief resident in Henry Ford’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the study’s lead author. “This leads to elbow fatigue, overuse and, subsequently, injury.”
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
A quick story on the rarely discussed mental portion of recovery from Tommmy John Surgery.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Don’t think the possibility hasn’t crossed Syndergaard’s mind. All he has to do is look down the row of lockers next to him and see that Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler all have undergone reconstructive surgery. And Syndergaard throws harder than any of them.
I asked Syndergaard whether he was worried about becoming the next Tommy John surgery victim. It was obvious the thought had already occurred to him.
“Everyone is afraid of it. You don’t want to lose a whole season,” Syndergaard said. “But a part of me wants to believe [surgery] can be prevented.”
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