While I haven’t followed baseball in some 30 years, a report on Stephen Strasburg possibly having Tommy John surgery1 caught my attention. The reason it caught my attention is because of the type of surgery this report said he is having for his elbow injury.
Reading about his injury and the mention of the Tommy John surgery made me want to know a bit more about it. I did a search on Google to find more about this surgery that can save a baseball players career.
While searching about information on the Tommy John surgery mentioned in the article about Stephen Strasburg, I noticed another article about Hector Rondon2 having a Tommy John Surgery. The date of the two sports articles on these two pitchers were dated for the same day. This caught my attention even more about this injury and surgery.
I had no idea what the name of this surgery was called. I have heard of pro and non-pro baseball players who had surgery on their elbows over the past few years while watching the sports news on one of our local news channels. I never paid much attention to the stories since I had lost interest in sports, especially baseball.
Below is the short version of what an injury can do to a baseball player and why he would need the Tommy John procedure. There is a short take on what I took from what I read about the surgery too.
What type of elbow injury would cause a player to need a Tommy John surgery?
In a nutshell, the elbow injury is the tearing of the ligament that connects the upper arm bones and elbow joint.
The UCL can tear when a pitcher over stresses the ligament when throwing fast balls (high velocity speed balls) overhanded. When a pitcher throws a fast ball to hard, he can sprain this ligament in the arm and elbow area causing the joint area with the muscle to weaken.
Pitchers can also blow out their elbows while throwing an overhanded high velocity ball to home plate. This type of injury is more serious than the spraining of the elbow.
What is a Tommy John Surgery?
A Tommy John surgery3 replaces the torn ligament with ligaments from the forearm, ankle or leg area. This can be done when a player has had an injury such as Strasburgs. The Tommy John surgery is to help the injured player be able to return to baseball rather than losing his career due to the injury.
Joseph White; Strasburg likely to have Tommy John surgery; Centurylink.net1
Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com; Rondon has Tommy John surgery; MLB.MLB.com2
Will Carrol and Thomas Gorman; Inside Tommy John Surgery; Baseballprospectus.com3