The 2012 baseball season will mark the 38th season since orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe performed the first ever UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) reconstructive surgery on then 31-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Tommy John, who the surgery would go on to be named for. Suffering from a torn left UCL located in his left elbow, the left-handed John had a tendon graft done from his right wrist to correct the injury. At the time, nobody thought John would return to baseball. However, he did two years later in 1976, racking up another 164 victories over the next 14 seasons.
Defying the odds for their clients, FitWAR provides a unique system for rehabilitation and wellness. In the same respect as Jobe, they take their clients from injury to rehabilitation and to a full recovery tailoring programs specifically to their individual needs.
After that historic day, fifty active major league pitchers have undergone Tommy John surgery. An injury to the UCL is greatly feared among baseball players, specifically pitchers, requiring a great amount of rehabilitation. This is a small price to pay with the success of 92 percent of pitchers with reconstructed UCLs that return to their prior level of competition.
The unnatural movement of the arm that pitchers use can take its toll over time, specifically on the elbow or shoulder. Tommy John surgery has become a very common solution, becoming a routine procedure in many cases. Washington Nationals pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, drafted in 2009, successfully underwent the Tommy John surgery eighteen months ago and is scheduled to pitch opening day for the Nationals this season. One major concern still comes along with the surgery – a mechanical flaw in the timing of delivery, causing the arm to lag behind the rest of the body and put strain on the shoulder and elbow.
St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, went under the knife in 2011 and is eager to play this season. Sidelined for an entire season, Wainwright has underwent extensive rehabilitation and has recovered successfully. Other players haven't been as successful with recovery, including Mason Tobin of the Texas Rangers who underwent his surgery in 2010, but had to undergo a second procedure. Another notable pitcher, former Cub Kerry Wood, had Tommy John surgery and never returned to his phenom form.
Baseball players need to be more aware of their weaknesses and increase their education on how to prevent a sports injury. The team at FitWAR provides the kind of training athletes need for recover and to prevent further injuries. Unless they want to have a surgery named after them.