Skip to main content

My son just recently was diagnosed with rotator cuff tendonitis at school. Over the summer and in high school he was a mid 80s pitcher but, in his first 2 outings in college scrimmages he was topping out at 75 which concerned his coaches. His arm felt dead from all the team lifting and throwing and whatnot but, had no pain until about 2 days after his last outing. Also, the trainer said rotator cuff tendonitis doesn't cause that much of a drop in velocity (only 1-2 mph)So, my question is what can cause such as drastic drop in velocity?
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Who diagnosed his rotator tendinitous? Tendinitous can be painful and sometimes there isn't much drop in velo. But everyone is different.
Large drop in velocity, according to son's trainer, sometimes signals a tear in the labrum or cuff. Did they give him a strength test?
Is he going through PT, he shouldn not be lifting or throwing at all.
What is the plan? Sometimes you have to follow protocol, which is rest, anti inflammatories, then PT before an MRI is done to determine what's going on.
Last edited by TPM
Originally posted by royrogers:
The pain is what scares me too, doesn't he need to be referred to a sports/ortho guy from trainer or can he just go to one?

I don't know any thing about your health insurance but if I was concerned about the health of my son I would have him see a sport/ortho using our family insurance, why would you need his trainer to refer him?
Don't know where the player is going to school but since this has occured this fall, it could be their responsibility to take care of any injury.

Just like proball injuries follow protocol, so do college injuries, usually the first step is the team doctor and all instructions are followed through by the trainer. I am confused as to who made the original diagnosis.
I concur on the advice to see a doctor and start some tests.

My son had a torn rotator that was repaired after his freshman year in college but the injury actually started as a HS senior. He had a velocity drop-off and pain and stiffness but went to the HS trainer for treatments and would feel better. He was effective on the mound so we really thought it was nothing more than soreness and did not seek medical advice.

As a college freshman, through the fall he mentioned he was having some discomfort that wasn't clearing up so at my insistence he saw an ortho doctor over Christmas break. All the doctor had to do was place a small amount of pressure on his arm and it buckled preventing him from holding it straight out. It turns out he was not as honest about the pain as he should have been and the MRI was inconclusive and he didn't want to miss his first season of college ball so we went the conservative route with rehab exercises.

Through the spring his velocity remained down and the pain went up...although he did not communicate the intensity of the pain until AFTER he had surgery because he did not want to sit out and he had some misconceptions about medical waivers and what being a redshirt meant (redshirts are the not so good players, for example.)
One of his after surgery admissions was that he knew he was going in for exploratory surgery in June so whatever new damage was being done could be fixed then. He revealed that he would wake up in the middle of the night his arm would hurt so bad. He also mentioned ...yeah, I though I was gonna pass out every pitch in that game. I think my favorite was the day after surgery when he was warned the pain would be significant and he asked, "Are you sure they did surgery cause it hurts a whole lot less now..."

His problem turned out to be that the head of the arm bone was slipping in and out of the shoulder socket and would rub against the muscle eventually causing the tear. It was a long-term repetitive injury and as I said, the early signs were seen in HS

I bring this up to stress that your son may not be as forthright about what he is feeling because of fears of losing a place on the team, falling behind the other players, losing respect if he doesn't "man-up" through the pain and all the other ridiculous things athletes do.
Unfortunately, I understand why they think that way...during that spring when he was sent to a local doctor due to continued pain and was temporarily benched for a game, my husband got to chatting with a former MLB player who was there and they talked about him being not able to play and I said something about you jocks always think you have to play through the pain and the pro said something to the effect of 'he wouldn't be a player if he didn't think that way.'

I'm sorry for this overlong post...I just wanted to pass on that you may want to try to push a little to make sure your son is not minimizing what he is feeling, especially in his first year where you are trying so hard to prove yourself to the coach.

Good luck!
Last season (Frosh College), through various symptoms, my son went through several diagnosis' of shoulder issues. They started as several different forms of tendonitis. He tried to pitch through it, but velocity was off 7-10 mph. Eventually, 4 weeks of rest, an MRI that showed only a swollen burser, shot of cortizone, and he came back with velocity that was 2-4 mph under normal, but very good command. He was being used a closer, and getting short stint appearances of 2 innings or less.

Each outing showed slow deterioration of velocity and command. He went from dominating to less than average in 7 weeks and shoulder became painful.

After pain didn't abate during the summer of full rest, another MRI showed labral tear and was operated on in late July.

Search "Labrum" on this site and you'll find a wealth of information. In all my research, the one thing that stood out was how terribly difficult a torn labrum can be to diagnose. It shows up in around 80% of MRI's, so that means 20% show a false negative for labral tear. There is no test or series of tests that conclusively rule it out, or demonstrate it. Really, in the case of a negative MRI, with no other conclusive diagnosis, the only way to tell is with a scope. It is insidious in that it masks itself many times as tendonitis or bursitis.

I am certainly not suggesting that this is what you or any player has, just relating some experience and sharing some learning.

Best of luck to your son.
My son is at Salisbury and he was diagnosed by the Head Trainer. Practice just ended but, he was doing light throwing and is still lifting with the team (not doing exercises that hurt the shoulder). Right now I feel in the dark because the boy isn't telling me much except that he has discomfort... I feel like the coach is just forgetting about him because the team already has plenty of pitching. I'm planning on calling the coach and finding out some more information
Head trainers don't diagnose, they send the players to the doctor and then make sure his orders are being carried out. Tendinitous does not usually cause a drop in velo, just discomfort.
I feel that the only time a parent should step in is when a player is having a medical issue. Go for it.
When a player has been diagnosed with tendinitous, rehab replaces work outs (lifting). His workouts should be specific as to his issue.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.