Tommy John...again.

We’ve just gotten some rough news.  Despite having pretty clean mechanics and not overusing his arm, our son injured his elbow the summer after his junior year in high school. On his doctor’s advice, he tried to rehab it conservatively for a year, which ultimately did not work and ended up in TJ surgery the summer after graduation. The good part was that he still ended up with a baseball scholarship to his dream school.  They never stopped believing in him and remained supportive throughout, saying they were in it for the long haul.  He went through the grueling rehab, worked the scoreboard his freshman season in college, and stayed as involved with the team as his injury would allow. First he passed the 12-month post-surgery mark, then 18. Elbow and shoulder pain came and went throughout the fall and he chalked it up to rigors of TJ rehab. He tried everything possible in terms of working with his coach on mechanical adjustments, but frustratingly his velocity never returned. Whereas he’d been 89-91 before his injury, now 20 months post-surgery and with this year’s season about to begin he was sitting low 80’s, touching mid-80’s and his elbow was in pain – again. He got an MRI last week and sure enough the graft is partially torn. They have no idea how long it has been this way but it could have been for quite awhile, which would explain his lack of progress. He’s been given two options – try PRP and rest and see if he can come back in time for the end of this year’s season (with a 50% chance of success given that the UCL graft is definitely “stretched” and PRP isn’t very likely to fix that) or get TJ revision surgery now and hope to make it back in time for his junior year. We plan to get a second opinion, but he’s leaning toward getting the surgery. While he once had aspirations of a professional career, now he just hopes to one day pitch in a college game and contribute to his team. It’s humbling how quickly an injury can change your whole perspective. If anyone has any words of wisdom or experience, we’d love to hear them.    

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smokeminside posted:

I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm impressed with your boy's attitude so far, though.  Must be a testament to your love and care for him.  I hope he stays part of the team, if he wants to, and that whatever decision he makes, the results are kinder to him.




So sorry to hear about this.  An injury is never easy to deal with. A "re-injury" just seems cruel.   I wish I could offer sage advice, but you are in rare territory with a re-injury and your son seems to have a more than reasonable plan to address it.  When my son was injured after his sophomore year all he could think about (besides school) was getting back on the field, and competing again.   It was strong motivation.   There were a handful of challenges along the way to recovery and competing again, but that is a topic for another day.

Please let me know what you guys decide to do and how he progresses.    Best of luck!


Such a difficult turn of events.  Baseball can be so very, very cruel at times.  We're dealing with an injury right now too so I have some idea of what you're going through.  I wouldn't even want to think about doing it twice.  Just when you think you are on a path, it sometimes takes a bad turn.  Please keep us updated on his progress and best of luck with whatever treatment path you end up on.

ETR, as the dad of a pitcher that has been through the non-surgical rehab for a UCL injury as a HS sophomore, then nerve transposition surgery in the fall of his freshman season only to end up having TJ surgery that same December, I can somewhat empathize with you.  My son's recovery from the TJ was not the "smooth" path that so many attest to.  He is 26 months post surgery.  I will tell you there are days he calls me and says, "Dad, my arm is bothering me again."  It's just words that crush your heart!  Thankfully, I think my son's case is simply soreness that he struggles with differentiating from pain, and his complaint is mainly in his tricep.  His velocity did return last season.  He struggled with control at times and just felt he had no idea where the ball was going.  His fall and early preseason have gone great from a control standpoint.  I think he just fears the worse every time something doesn't feel "right". (My words not his)  But as a dad, I can tell you I will NEVER feel comfortable again.  While I completely realize if professional baseball never materializes he will be okay, I also know that it would be crushing for him on so many levels.  Like so many of your sons, that has been his dream since the age of 5.  It's one thing to fall short of your dreams due to lack of ability, it's another thing entirely when you KNOW you have the tools, but an injury just will not allow to pursue those dreams.

I can only imagine where your son is mentally.  I've seen up close and personal the TJ rehab.  It is grueling physically and mentally.  Then, to find out the ligament is torn again!!  How cruel.  I don't have the words, but I can tell you that I am pulling for your kid.  If he has his mind made up that he wants to do what it takes to try and pitch again, I would go the surgical route.  There is no way I would advise my son to consider non surgical therapy based on your comment that apparently you were told it most likely would not help.  Again, this is strictly my opinion, so take that for what it's worth. (not much)  

I realize I'm just a stranger on a message board, but I can assure you my heart breaks for your son.  Whatever path he choses and wherever this injury leads, just let him know there is at least one person that he will most likely never meet that is one of his biggest cheerleaders.  I will put you and your son in my thoughts and prayers.  As tough as it is on him, I also know you are struggling as well.  It's so difficult to find the words to say to our sons.  I'm sorry only goes so far.  Then it's so difficult as a father to see a child hurting and know there is nothing you can do to take the pain away.  


Sorry to hear this, best of luck to your son and him getting healthy.

Here's another perspective he should seriously consider. There is more to life than baseball.

My son played for 4 years, was injured and lost most of a season, came back and finished and had a nice Sr year. He went on and got his masters (fully paid because of summer internships) and now has a nice life working for a rapidly growing tech company. 

He enjoyed it but has completely moved on without baseball. It happens to everyone at different times and while he may have trouble making the decision now, it might be best for him to move on with life.  The fact is that most kids don't play for 3-4 years of college ball for a whole bunch of reasons, injuries included. Just another perspective, and best of luck in his decision. 

Thanks to everyone for your kind and supportive words.  Younggun, I am wishing your son all the best and thinking good thoughts for him every step of the way.  As a mom, it is helpful for me to hear perspectives from dads.  My husband hasn't said a lot but I know he is really struggling with this.  After all those years of playing catch together day after day, it broke my heart  to hear him say maybe it just wasn't meant to be.  Our son does seem to be taking it fairly well.   It helps that the coaches are supportive and still envision a future for him on the team.  He has a 4-year scholarship so the investment is already there.  The plan is to have his original surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, look at the MRI and give a second opinion on PRP vs TJ revision.  If the latter, son will have it done right away at Stanford Medicine at no charge to us with the goal of coming back at some point during the 2019 season. If he can make it back, he has 3 years of eligibility remaining - possibly 4 if he can get a medical hardship waiver.  If he stays in school that long, he is thinking maybe he can even graduate with a master's degree.  He's always been a really academically oriented kid and can envision life beyond baseball.  I think he just isn't ready to give up on the dream of playing in college.  Hopefully it is in the cards for him but I am way past taking anything for granted.  Thanks again for the support - I love HSBBW.  I will keep you posted!      

Listening to your story certainly brings back memories with our son and the multiple physical setbacks.  I feel your pain but I feel a strong sense of calm with the way you describe your/his scenario.  It is obvious that your son is balanced and well grounded and will adjust well to these changes in life that will continue to present themselves long after baseball days.   

Even with the support of the school and the best doctors involved, I know it is emotionally difficult.  But, once a direction is chosen, the strong foundation you have provided your son over the years will allow everyone to move forward with proper perspective and a positive outlook.

I totally feel for your son, and your family.  I agree with others that it is definitely a cruel twist of fate, but from your story, I believe your son is going to make it!  He seems to have a strong resolve, a good head, a positive outlook, and a good support system.  Those are all ingredients of a successful comeback.  Please keep us posted...

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