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“Tommy John” Surgery Does Not Make You Throw Better Than You Did Before

We now have a solid understanding of the behaviors that place a thrower at risk for elbow injuries, but making inroads in changing that behavior remains a challenge. For example, 40% of youth pitchers report throwing in chronic elbow pain, and 25% of Major League Baseball pitchershad “Tommy John” surgery at some point in their career.

The reality is that surgery to reconstruct a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) does not make the elbow stronger and better than it was before the injury. Many pitchers do successfully compete again after surgery but it’s likely due to extensive rehabilitation to correct underlying functional issues as much as it is to skillful surgery.

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Predicting Baseball Related Arm Injury

It would be great if we could take a young baseball player and be able to accurately predict arm injury risk for that player. If we could identify specific factors we could take steps proactively to prevent injury. A recently published study shows that we are closer to being able to identify cause and effect for elbow injuries in young baseball players but still need quite a bit more data to conclusively show cause and effect for shoulder injuries.

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