Tommy John Surgery Research Paper

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Every year thousands of pitchers hear some of the most dreaded words possible, “You need Tommy John Surgery.” Tommy John Surgery affects many baseball players every year and threatens a lot of athlete’s careers. Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) damage can be common in both professional and college pitchers, as well as the occasional high school athlete. A damaged UCL often requires surgery, and an exceptionally long road to recovery. While it may put a career on hold, the ultimate goal is to allow a pitcher to continue his career for a long time after. Tommy John Surgery can be a frightening diagnosis, however, understanding what Tommy John Surgery is, what the procedure is like, the recovery process after surgery, and how to avoid arm injuries …show more content…
Some common efforts are resting, icing, and arm rehabilitation. If these efforts are unsuccessful, surgery will be necessary to return to a competitive level (Erickson). UCL injuries requiring surgery are often caused by overuse and bad mechanics. With overuse occurring often in many adolescents, pitch rules and limits have started to take effect in leagues to prevent as many overuse injuries as possible. Overuse is one of the leading causes of injury and is a typical problem in younger athletes who play for teams with one standout pitcher. Overuse will often lead to microtrauma injuries, and when pitched on, these microtrauma injuries lead to larger scale injuries and larger problems (Andrews 54-56). UCL injuries can also be caused by repetitive stress on the elbow, usually caused by throwing. The injury occurs when the ligament loosens and stretches to a point where the bones creating the elbow joint are no longer held closely tightly (Ansorge). Elbow injuries often have symptoms that are quite recognizable. Symptoms are often pain and fatigue in the elbow, and can be recognized early if pain does not reside after stretching a few warm up throws (Andrews 59). Other side effects to a UCL injury can be a tightness in the elbow and a tingling in both the ring and pinky fingers of the throwing hand (Ansorge). Tommy John Surgery would be used to get rid of these symptoms, and to eventually restore the stability of the elbow joint that was causing the problems in the first place. The ultimate goal is to get an athlete to where he was, and to eliminate the reason for him not being able to throw in the first place (Ulnar). Before the surgery, the injury must first be diagnosed with either a physical exam, x-ray, or MRI revealing any damage to the ligament that would require a surgical procedure (Ansorge). After diagnosis, the surgical procedure will begin.

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