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My college freshman son is currently having serious elbow pain. His arm is frequently numb - during practice, while studying, even some during sleep. He has had recurrent elbow problems since he was 14. He has been to a couple of orthopedics here at home over the past four years. He was diagnosed with possible ulnar nerve entrapment. He was given physical therapy to perform (as well as shut down a few times), as well as having the therapist work with his throwing mechanics. We always tried to avoid the "knife", now I'm starting to wonder if that was the best path (even though the orthopedic never prescribed surgery at that point). He is a catcher and outfielder, although the catching throws seemed to always cause the elbow pain. The orthopedic advised my son not to catch any more or he would risk doing permanent damage to the ulnar nerve. Well, my son did quit catching for the most part, until this year at college. The college team's backup catcher tore his labrum and is out for the year, so they asked my son to move from OF to catcher to fill the void. My son informed the coaches of his previous elbow problems (as he had done during his recruitment), but also offered to catch if they would work with his mechanics. According to my son, there has been little work on mechanics and his arm is now "toast". He has talked to the coach, who tells him to see the trainer. The trainer is the trainer for several sports, so possibly not too super baseball savvy. The trainer had my son wear a compression sleeve to alleviate the pain - that just puts more pressure on the nerve, not a good thing for nerve entrapment. My son deperately wants to see a specialist and has mentioned that to trainer (and possibly coach), but that does not seem to be a priortity at this time. I advised my son to 1) attend all treatment sessions 2) repectfully, but directly, inform the trainer of his past arm history, that he knew his arm and that he could not throw anymore and 3) if the trainer would not shut him down and setup appointment with a specialist, then talk to the Head Coach, and possibly top assistant, and inform them of that which he told the trainer. Is that good advice in this case or would you suggest something else or more? Thanks for your consideration.
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If your son is telling you that his arm is toast.
He should shut himself down.
The Coach is worried about this season?
Your son should be worried about his arm and the future use of that arm.

The Coach will listen to your son if he tell's him it's toast.
The coach is hopeing for the best, but is realistic.
Good Luck. Let us know what happen's.
It sounds like your son is at the point where he needs to take control of his destiny. If indeed his arm is "toast", and the trainer is of no help, then he needs to see a specialist and maybe get an MRI ASAP.

At the same time you may want to find a good throwing instructor, since it sounds like the college coach isn't helping with mechanics. It's possible that surgery can be avoided if your son can improve his mechanics (I'm guessing that a flaw in mechanics are at least part of the problem). Even if he does have to have surgery, he'll want to change the way he throws so this doesn't happen again ... elbow problems are almost always due to some kind of mechanical flaw, or playing too many video games.

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