Tommy John

Topics: Pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs Pages: 2 (487 words) Published: May 5, 2013
Jamie Myers
Marshall University

Tommy John surgery, also referred to as ulnar collateral ligament surgery, is a medical procedure invented by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974 that is usually performed on baseball layers and other athletes who injure the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow. It was named after Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, who was the first person to undergo the procedure. For baseball players, this damage is mainly caused by the wearing down of the ligament through constant throwing or pitching of the baseball. Over time the ligament can wear down tremendously that without having the surgery, the layer’s career can presumably be declared over. During the surgery, a tendon from another area of the patient’s body is removed (usually from the non-throwing arm) and put in the place of the damaged elbow ligament. The tendon is surgically attached similar to a figure eight pattern. The tendon must then learn to function as a ligament and generally requires about twelve to sixteen months of rest and rehabilitation before the athlete can return to their respected sport. Tommy John surgery will not give an athlete an “upper hand” in making them more successful over their opponents.

If the healing process is successful, the athlete will typically pick up where he left off, at a state near to what he was before becoming injured. However, there have been several cases of players coming back from the surgery who report that they feel better than ever or throw harder and stronger than they previously had. These testimonies have led some people who are not even injured to go through with this procedure in an attempt to obtain an advantage over their opponents. Some parents have even asked their doctors to perform the surgery on their own children in hopes that they will eventually develop a stronger arm in the future.

There are many players who have claimed to feel much stronger and throw harder after their surgery than before they...
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