I didn't realize it but it's been nearly a year since I updated this thread. My how time flies!
As the journey of every baseball player will, my son's has officially come to an end. We dropped him off for sophomore year at his D3 college a little over a week ago and he made the decision to hang them up. It has been a great ride and I wouldn't take anything back. His decision came from a combination of factors and was well thought out and measured. Nothing dramatic, just time to move on and see what he can do with the time and energy diverted to other endeavors. I put this in this thread because I think it's an appropriate close to it and a portion of the result most definitely relates to the injury. Through that lens, I've got three pieces of insight to share:
1. The timing of the injury/surgery/rehab certainly impacted his path. There is no way to know what would have been but I am fairly confident that this was a major factor in how it materialized. He essentially hit the pause button on playing development at the end of his junior year of high school and could not fully pick it back up until somewhere in the early spring of his senior year. The impact of this was huge and, though he ended up having a good senior season, exposure in the recruiting timeline and continuous applied work at his position were irrevocably impacted. Go into it with eyes wide open.
2. With shoulder injury/surgery, a player can do everything prescribed to the T and there is still a good probability that a full return will not happen physically and/or mentally. Go into it with eyes wide open.
3. It's hard to trust the body after surgery on a throwing arm. My son's shoulder will never be the same as prior to surgery. We knew this, so it was no surprise, but worth a mention. It takes much longer to warm up (especially in cold weather), hurts often when throwing max velo, is sore longer, and is pretty much stiff all of the time. Go into it with eyes wide open.
I'm sorry to reiterate the "eyes wide open" bit but we were really fortunate that my son's surgeon was up front with us about this. It created a comfort in that he may return - at least for a while - or he may not, so every bit of baseball we got after that was cherished. He did return to full capacity, at least from a physical assessment (mobility, velo) standpoint, but he was never really the same mentally. I believe there was fear and caution in the back of his mind at all times and I don't think he could truly perform at his highest level with those present, whether it was conscious to him or not.
Before he went back to school we talked about how all of this paved the way for mom and dad as far as "weaning" us off of his baseball. We didn't get to see him play for nine months, then we had three months of HS ball in the spring of 2019, and haven't seen him play since. This year, between a shortened spring season and simple lack of playing time due to competition at his position, we never saw him play any in college. And I'm OK with that. Though I thought I might be sad about this turn of the page, I'm surprisingly not and a portion of that is because it ended with my son having a great conversation with a very supportive head coach. I can't wait to see what he does now.
This site has been a tremendous resource in my nearly three years out here and I sincerely wish everyone who has seen, or will see, this thread well. I hope the somewhat loose chronicle of my son's timeline might help others who may experience any of it first-hand. I will check back in here from time to time to see what's going on but, if I don't get to as often as I intend, best of luck to everyone!