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Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Economist: Babe, Jackie, Jobe

A swooning ode to the late inventor of Tommy John surgery asks why fans treat it so differently than steroid use.

A mere whiff of steroid use is enough to sully the reputation of any athlete, whereas players who recover from TJS are praised for their perseverance. But what could be more unnatural, or provide a bigger advantage, than cutting a tendon out of a wrist or leg and inserting it into an elbow?

David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:50 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: frank jobe, steroids, tommy john surgery

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   1. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4668734)
A mere whiff of steroid use is enough to sully the reputation of any athlete, whereas players who recover from TJS are praised for their perseverance. But what could be more unnatural, or provide a bigger advantage, than cutting a tendon out of a wrist or leg and inserting it into an elbow?


Well, for one thing, they usually don't perform Tommy John surgery in the toilet stalls of a clubhouse.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:41 PM (#4668735)
Well, for one thing, they usually don't perform Tommy John surgery in the toilet stalls of a clubhouse.

Well, getting abortions out of dangerous, unsanitary back alleys was an argument for legalization. Why treat performance enhancing surgery, different than performance enhancing medication. Even nutrition is performance enhancing, or so I'm told.
   3. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:50 PM (#4668740)
But what could be more unnatural, or provide a bigger advantage, than cutting a tendon out of a wrist or leg and inserting it into an elbow?


Caesarian birth?
   4. BDC Posted: March 09, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4668744)
TFA:

One argument might be that the surgery merely restores a pre-existing “authentic” level of performance, rather than elevating a player to new heights. But players who have tried to “justify” their use of PEDs by saying they were simply trying to recover from an injury have been consistently scorned


That argument moves a wee bit too fast. TJ surgery is in fact prescribed by physicians as a therapy for an injury, just as all kinds of surgeries are routinely prescribed for amateur sport injuries. Anabolic steroids, HGH, and the like have more often been self-prescribed, or prescribed by dubious conditioning gurus, often in the total absence of injury.

I've elided any number of nuances in order to get that into three sentences, but such is the Internet :)
   5. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4668754)
True, but Bosch Sr (technically the head of Biogenesis) was a doctor, Colon got his stem cell injections from foreign doctors, that other guy ARod had dealings with (Galeta? something like that) was a doctor and (many) roids are available without prescription in the DR (and I assume some other countries).

Well, for one thing, they usually don't perform Tommy John surgery in the toilet stalls of a clubhouse.

Unless you're the Mets.

On the serious side, your logic falls apart Andy. The moral condemnation of steroids forces the "secret" use, the secret usage does not cause the condemnation.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 09, 2014 at 06:39 PM (#4668759)
TJ surgery is in fact prescribed by physicians as a therapy for an injury

But not often used outside of athletics as not many of life's activities really require a functioning UCL. From WebMD:

Only rarely do UCL injuries interfere with non-throwing activities, such as:

activities of daily living
exercising
lifting weights
batting in baseball
running


It's a surgery whose nearly sole application is to allow athletes to throw effectively again.

If steroids do actually help athletes recover or recover more quickly from injury, I see no distinction between usage for that purpose and TJS. As Andy and others are on record as accepting "restorative" uses of some illegal PEDs, I assume they accept this use of roids as well.
   7. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4668767)
If steroids do actually help athletes recover or recover more quickly from injury, I see no distinction between usage for that purpose and TJS.


And "if" is the $60,000 question. And there's a way of finding out. Run a clinical trial. Without that, you got nuthin but anecdotal crap.
   8. BDC Posted: March 09, 2014 at 07:05 PM (#4668770)
It's a surgery whose nearly sole application is to allow athletes to throw effectively again

Fair enough, but an awful lot of (privileged) people in the US get surgeries that enable them to resume activity well beyond the walking-around and combing-your-hair level. It's a continuum, I reckon. If life is dandy except I can only throw 85 MPH when I used to throw 95, that's one extreme of the continuum, for sure. But it's only a difference in degree from the middle-aged guy who first notices some an incipient disk or nerve issue when he's golfing, and gets surgery so he can get back on the links.
   9. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 09, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4668772)
If steroids do actually help athletes recover or recover more quickly from injury, I see no distinction between usage for that purpose and TJS. As Andy and others are on record as accepting "restorative" uses of some illegal PEDs, I assume they accept this use of roids as well.

I've said at least a dozen times on these threads that as long as anabolic steroids are prescribed for injury recovery by certified MLB-approved doctors**, and are limited to players only as long as they remain on the DL, I have no problem with their use. Of course any unauthorized use should be met with the same penalties as exist in the current system. I'd say the same thing for HGH.

**Doctors who are independent of any particular team, with no "revolving door" allowed in either direction. This is to preclude any obvious conflicts of interest.
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 09, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4668773)
double post
   11. eddieot Posted: March 09, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4668838)
I've said at least a dozen times on these threads that as long as anabolic steroids are prescribed for injury recovery by certified MLB-approved doctors**, and are limited to players only as long as they remain on the DL, I have no problem with their use. Of course any unauthorized use should be met with the same penalties as exist in the current system. I'd say the same thing for HGH.

YES!!! I've said this too, AND, I would take it a step further and use the results for a clinical trial on the actual effects of PEDs. MLB certified doctors prescribing them only for injury recovery and tracking those results over a couple decades could yield an actual body of data that could legitimize use in the long run. As long as the player can opt out, just like any other medical procedure presented, it would make sense to go this route. There will still be underground use but it would further ostracize those users as cheaters if there was an avenue for legitimate use and remove the worn-out excuse of " I only did it once and it was to recover from injury."

   12. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 09, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4668845)
That's pretty much my reasoning, too, eddieot. Hard line steroids ############ that I am, I totally sympathize with players on the DL who just want to get back on the field. Giving these players a legit way to speed up the healing process might help separate the sheep from the goats when it comes to alleged motivations for using.
   13. dr. scott Posted: March 10, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4669078)
That they have to be on the DL to take it is a good step, but there are probably more details to work out. I'm thinking specifically of the outbreak of ADHD among MLB players to get TUE's for amphetamines. Players on roids cycle on an off them, and supposedly show benefits when they stop... would we see skinny outfielders going on the DL and coming back with 30 extra pounds of muscle and a larger hat size.. (mostly kidding)
   14. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 10, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4669133)
That they have to be on the DL to take it is a good step, but there are probably more details to work out. I'm thinking specifically of the outbreak of ADHD among MLB players to get TUE's for amphetamines. Players on roids cycle on an off them, and supposedly show benefits when they stop... would we see skinny outfielders going on the DL and coming back with 30 extra pounds of muscle and a larger hat size.. (mostly kidding)

That's why I emphasize that the doctors should have no connection to any particular player or club. Ideally you'd get a group of doctors who all lived in Greenland and whose favorite sport was seducing polar bears. Or something like that.
   15. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 10, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4669141)
That's why I emphasize that the doctors should have no connection to any particular player or club.


You don't trust George Mitchell's personal physician?

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