Page 1 of 4

What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lately

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:55 pm
by TheTrith
It seems like exploding UCL's are becoming more and more common lately, and for many players its not just happening once, but a second time as well.

Why?

Is just simply better diagnostics? Did players years ago not realize they even had tears because the imaging devices were not as sophisticated as they are today?

Is it a result of too much throwing at earlier and earlier ages, as a result of childhood specialization in sports and year round youth baseball?

Are players being taught poor/dangerous mechanics? If so, at what levels? High school? College? Pro ball? MLB?

Is it the emphasis put on pitchers throwing harder than in years past?

Conditioning? Diet?

Pitch selection?

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:26 pm
by J35J
TheTrith wrote:Is it a result of too much throwing at earlier and earlier ages, as a result of childhood specialization in sports and year round youth baseball?

Is it the emphasis put on pitchers throwing harder than in years past?


Those 2 things are the big ones for me. Guys are throwing sooo much more now than ever before, all year round and starting at such young ages. That and they mostly all throw so much harder than ever before...much more max effort. None of that is good on your arm.

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:37 pm
by NikkiSixx
So we are sacrificing more dominant pitcher for more Tommy John surgeries. Nice. It seems like if a guy doesn't have Tommy John surgery at a young age, then he likely won't need it at all. Most of these guys are so young.

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:05 pm
by TheTrith
Im not sure though. I mean how do we reconcile that with the fact that guys like Beachy didnt even pitch at all until late in their college career? He certainly didnt have years and years of amateur elbow abuse built up.
Or that it used to be common place for pitchers to throw 300+ innings in a season, and take the mound every 4 days (or less!).

It seems like baseball/sports medicine is just flat out missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:15 pm
by J35J
TheTrith wrote:Im not sure though. I mean how do we reconcile that with the fact that guys like Beachy didnt even pitch at all until late in their college career? He certainly didnt have years and years of amateur elbow abuse built up.
Or that it used to be common place for pitchers to throw 300+ innings in a season, and take the mound every 4 days (or less!).

It seems like baseball/sports medicine is just flat out missing a huge piece of the puzzle.


Meh, the guys throwing 300IP per season were doing it at 80mph.

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:25 pm
by TheTrith
Thats true.

Maybe there is just an exponential increase in structural damage vs pitch velocity, so that a few more MPH on average results in tons more blown UCL's?

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:01 pm
by kab21
J35J wrote:
TheTrith wrote:Is it a result of too much throwing at earlier and earlier ages, as a result of childhood specialization in sports and year round youth baseball?

Is it the emphasis put on pitchers throwing harder than in years past?


Those 2 things are the big ones for me. Guys are throwing sooo much more now than ever before, all year round and starting at such young ages. That and they mostly all throw so much harder than ever before...much more max effort. None of that is good on your arm.


I think a big part of it is due to being stronger and throwing harder. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with throwing more at younger ages. There seems to be a lot more concern about HS'ers, pitch counts and how many days of rest they get. 20 years ago at my HS we had pitchers throwing complete games twice a week if they were pitching well. I think potentially that the rise in TJ's is partly due to HS pitchers with poor mechanics not wrecking their arms in their teens. This pool of pitchers didn't use to make it to the pros.

But the biggest part is the added strength though. Typically strength is added and flexibility is lost.

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:35 am
by wrveres
pussyfacation of pitchers is what it is. if im paying a guy 10-15 million to pitch, im riding him till he dies. screw the innings limits, and the cream will still rise to the top. thats one area where the nfl gets it right.

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:49 am
by Izenhart
Holding Stras out of the playoffs still boggles my mind.

I hurt my arm when I was 14, rotator cuff tear. Never gained velocity past that age. For me anyway it was overuse and abuse. I think every case has different factors in it.

Re: What is causing the increase in Tommy John surgeries lat

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:37 pm
by DbacksRback
I think a lot has to do with throwing at an early age.

My Sophmore year at college pitching, every pitcher had at least one surgery in their life on their arm: Bone spur, rotator cuff, TJ.

I know I did the damage for me in HS being one of 2 starters and throwing curve balls/sliders non stop. Arm isn't developed yet. Surgery left me not being able to bend my elbow all the way :-/