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Tommy John Surgery

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Andrew D 31 October 2012 Ms. ……… ENC 1101 Tommy John Surgery Snap, crackle, and pop. Those aren’t the sound of rice crispies in milk; it’s the sound a pitcher hears after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. This injury used to be career ending but is now almost standard. This has saved countless dreams for many baseball players of not just playing baseball but to have complete function of their right arm. Today, sports fans and athletes hear the term Tommy John surgery and don’t flinch.

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There are currently 29 active ballplayers in the major leagues who have already have had Tommy John surgery. That includes the Chicago White Sox’ pitcher Philip Humber, who pitched has a perfect game. Another is the Colorado Rockies’ Jamie Moyer, who is the oldest pitcher in the majors to record a victory in the major leagues at age 49. This surgery has not only resurrected pro careers and helped define history, but it has also helped countless athletes continue to do what they love despite such a catastrophic injury.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction surgery, which is its medical name, is a grafting procedure in which doctors take tendons from another part of the body, like the forearm, hamstring, hip or knee and replace the ligament in the elbow with the other grafted ligament. Two holes are drilled into the arm bones and the replacement “ligament” is woven between the two holes like a figure 8. This injury is caused by a repetitive throwing or over head motion such as throwing a baseball or swinging a tennis racquet.

The surgery itself is named after Tommy John, a former pitcher and the first to undergo the operation. On July 17, 1974, he was pitching for the dodgers when it happened. “I had runners on first and second. I was trying to get the batter to hit a sinker to get him to hit a ground ball so I could get two and get out of the inning unscathed. I threw a sinker and right as I threw, I felt this searing pain and the ball just blooped up to the plate and I went, ‘Holy mackerel, what did I do? ‘” He called Dr. Frank Jobe; who was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ orthopedic surgeon.

After several examinations, Jobe gave the pitcher the bad news. If he didn’t have surgery, he would never play baseball again. Jobe suggested a new surgery that had never been attempted before. “He told me what he was going to do; he said, if you’ve pulled it off the bone, then what we’ll do is just reattach it to the bone and it will be no problem. But if it’s not, I’m going to have to take this tendon from your right forearm and graft it into your left elbow. ” John asked the surgeon for the odds of a successful outcome.

Jobe put the odds at 1%. “Well, I was valedictorian of my high school class and 1% or 2% in 100 is far better than zero percent in 100,” he said. On September 25, 1974, Jobe performed the surgery. The rehab was grueling, initially causing John to have what he called a “claw hand. ” There was a subsequent surgery to repair nerve damage. After 16 weeks, he was able to throw a baseball. He would miss the entire 1975 season. Although he would play another 13 seasons in the big leagues and become a hall of famer.

This surgery used to be rare, but with competitive baseball becoming more intense for all ages elbow injuries are not only becoming more widespread, but are affecting athletes at younger ages. With the evolution of technology and the recruiting process with colleges and pro teams, youth baseball players in temperate areas play baseball up to 11 months a year. The strain on a pitchers arm playing 11 months a year is immense. Although, the strain on a pitcher who is still growing who plays 11 months out of the year can be catastrophic to their career in sports and their livelihood.

Failure to correct a severely injured UCL can result in chronic elbow issues. Tommy John Surgery comes at a time when the athlete’s life is spiraling into complete chaos. Just as it stabilizes the elbow’s bones together it stabilizes the hopes and dreams of the athlete’s future. Without the invention of this surgery numerous people had their purpose renewed and the disorder cured. ”Disorder, alas, is the natural order of things in the universe. ”(RFW pg. 420) Tommy John Surgery sorts out the turmoil. Work Cited Cole K. C. “Readings for Writers” Entropy (2012) pg 420

Cite this Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John Surgery. (2016, Dec 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/tommy-john-surgery/

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