My son is actually in his 1st yr of JUCO, a catcher. Led the nation for a time for most homeruns, settled at #7 after his arm got to bad to play. Appeared he was being drafted, met with team several times, negotiated an offer...on/off shoulder problems since 9th grade. Missed his jr year with ulnar transposition surgery. Had a great sr year, but towards end shoulder pain increased. Dx with tendonitis (altho they did no testing). Tried to rehab that summer but pain continued. As mentioned, he was doing very well at his JUCO, until shoulder became unbearable. Still with pop time of 1.87. MRI showed internal impingement, labrum tear with bucket handle (appeared to go completely around) and a Bennett lesion. Already knew rehab would be slow. Surgery yesterday revealed SLAP III with the bucket handle and a full thickness rotator cuff tear. He came out of surgery and was devastated. Can't even touch a ball until 5m. Will miss all of his strength training (those homeruns won't come as easily next season) and likely all pre-season workouts. Know success rate for pitchers is poor... but, he is catcher. Any catchers experience this? As a parent, I feel so bad for him, as he truly wants nothing more in life than to play baseball (even if he went late in draft where Money is slim picking). 

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Sorry to hear this and I wish him well. I'll try to give you a summarized version of my son's situation and hopefully it will provide some light at the end of the tunnel (the long version can be found here). Everyone's journey is different, of course, and your son's injury is more severe than my son's, but the surgery and rehab process is likely very similar. My son, who is also a catcher, graduates from HS this year and tore his labrum sometime last summer. I say "sometime" because we don't know exactly when it happened but the pain started about the third to the last game of his HS season. First MRI (June) did not show a tear and he was diagnosed with an impingement for which rest, ice, etc. was prescribed. In a couple of weeks there was no change so PT was prescribed. Still no improvement so we asked for another MRI and, lo and behold, there was a tear in the labrum along with some other "housecleaning" that needed attention. So, frustratingly, he went all summer without playing at a very critical time in the recruiting timeline only to be presented with the choice of having surgery at the end of last August. He chose to have the surgery knowing that there is a good chance he may not make a recovery. In his mind he didn't want to look back and think that he didn't try everything possible. The tear was actually a bit worse than the scan showed so two anchors/sutures, and about an hour and a half, later he was ready to start the road to recovery. It has been a long road and he's still on it. Your son must follow the initial recovery and ongoing PT plan to a T. I can't stress this enough. Setbacks will be normal but he absolutely cannot be in a rush. This will likely be a 12-14 month deal for a full return, and I've heard longer in some situations, and some that don't make it back to 100%. He will probably become very in tune with his body and what it's telling him. Weirdly so to those of us who haven't been through a surgery this invasive but it taught me to listen to my son when he says something about feel and motion. There's also a chance that he'll want to baby it, sometimes more than necessary. This is also a normal reaction to not wanting to do something that will prolong recovery or risk re-injury. There's a fine line that only your son can know because there is some pain, soreness, and discomfort to be expected. He'll learn to know the difference but my son's ortho told him that if you go too far forward there's no way to go back so he'll need to be careful.

Fast forward to today (nearly nine months post-op) and my son has made huge strides towards full recovery. He caught all but a few games of his HS season albeit not throwing at all the first few, and not ever reaching 100% effort. Despite that, he committed to his D3 of choice and had a pretty decent season being awarded all-conference (in the largest enrollment class in the state) and all-state all-star, which I believe is a deal for seniors only. He hit somewhere north of .320, had a perfect fielding percentage, and threw out close to 30% of would-be base stealers having never reached much over 85% throwing effort. HS stats are what they are, so take that with a grain of salt, but this is much more than we could have ever hoped for given the circumstances. He is still doing PT three times a week and is now focused almost solely on the strength aspect of that. He will continue this through the summer, focus on overall strength and conditioning, catching-specific skill work, and hitting, and hopefully be ready to compete for playing time at 100% come fall.

I hope this provides a ray of hope and if you've got any specific questions that you think I can answer I'm more than happy to field those either here or in a PM. Best of luck!

Tequila- sounds as if your son has recovered well. Your story did indeed offer some extra hope,  although one difference is that my son's labrum tear ended up being secondary (despite the MRI which clearly showed a significant labrum tear), his surgeon ended up discovering a full thickness rotator tear. He actually apologized for having to give us some unexpected and disappointing news. Think the worse part, is that one, this his second surgery (ulnar nerve transposition in his jr year), again he lost out on opportunities and lastly, these tears may have been there for some time but everyone just kept telling him it was probably tendonitis. It'll be a long road to recovery, I know, but he has the motivation and drive, question will be can he handle the ups and downs.  Your son sounds like he is exactly where he wants to be, which is fantastic news. Good luck to him in all his future athletic (and educational) endeavors. 

 

Tequila- sounds as if your son has recovered well. Your story did indeed offer some extra hope,  although one difference is that my son's labrum tear ended up being secondary (despite the MRI which clearly showed a significant labrum tear), his surgeon ended up discovering a full thickness rotator tear. He actually apologized for having to give us some unexpected and disappointing news. Think the worse part, is that one, this his second surgery (ulnar nerve transposition in his jr year), again he lost out on opportunities and lastly, these tears may have been there for some time but everyone just kept telling him it was probably tendonitis. It'll be a long road to recovery, I know, but he has the motivation and drive, question will be can he handle the ups and downs.  Your son sounds like he is exactly where he wants to be, which is fantastic news. Good luck to him in all his future athletic (and educational) endeavors. 

 

Ended up being both a SLAP 3 tear AND a full thickness rotator tear, but despite issues with insurance covering PT and the therapist feeling that PT once every three weeks was perfectly a sound decision, he is doing pretty well. We moved him near his college, so he is now working with both a new PT (self-pay) and his trainer 5 days per week. They say he is ahead of schedule.  I think he can begin to lightly toss a ball at 4m. Right now, its crucial he is careful, as re-injury can occur between that 8-12 week time frame. Goal is to get him back in time for the Spring season. PT is key, IMO. Can suggest that you invest in a wedge type pillow as sleeping was extremely difficult for 1st two-three weeks. 

Good luck with your son's surgery. They say both labrum and rotator tears can end a ball players career, so make sure he listens to his therapist and does his exercises.  I will update as my son begins to throw and/or bat and hope you'll do the same. 

Los Angeles 2021 Parent-

Apologize if this is sent wrong. Not most computer illiterate. How did your son fair with his surgery? My son is nearly six months out and is doing very well. We secured him an apartment near his surgeon and his school so that he can do PT 1x wk and work with his trainer (who also works at the PT prgm) 5x week. He is doing alot of cardio and lower body workouts, lost nearly 20 lbs which initially scared me. I was afraid he would not be as strong of a hitter at 199 but he says it's just temp while he trains other areas of his body. Anyway, he is nearly 5 wks ahead of schedule. He should be able to begin hitting in 4-6 wks instead of 10-12. February is his anticipated release date but of course, things could change.  Hope your son is doing well. 

Today is 1 month since surgery. Took the sling off toady! Rehab is mostly range of motion at this point. We did get the wedge pillow! Thanks for the suggestion. Too early to say if rehab is on track or behind. That is great to hear your son is doing so well. PT is a family friend and is well acquainted with baseball rehab  so that’s great—my advice is PT  can vary quite a bit and we are glad to have a sport-specialist. Now if we could only get our insurance company to agree! The PT that was covered was basically for everyday people trying to recover for work or elderly—not at all directed at trying to throw a baseball! Thanks for all the advice and continued good luck on your sons’ recoveries.

Sounds like he is doing well, great news. Funny you mentioned PT, as you know we had all kinds of issues w/that. We continue to pay out of pocket, but it's been worth it. Right now, he is followed closely by surgeon, PT and trainer. He has a very strict regime to follow, told us today he started doing push ups. Having not only a sport-specific PT, but a friend, is great, as he will always have your son's best interest in heart. Sure he'll be out enjoying some late Spring/early summer ball  next year and being a 2021 grad, that will give him plenty of time for recruitment. See if one of his coaches can get him listed on Field Level, it was a great recruitment tool. His coach can send his profile to any teams he is interested in, then post videos, accoladates, updates, etc...my son missed all junior yr baseball and a portion of sr yr as well. The offers he had disappeared whenever a hint of injury was apparent. Field Level brought him a ton of prospects, coaches of all levels throughout the US could view his profile, watch his videos and contact either he or the coach directly. His phone rang off the hook all last year. He was getting offers from colleges who didn't even wanna see him. Just wanted him to sign with them. Even missing out on some JUCO ball last Spring, he was ranked 114 in nation for all level JUCO players in the JBB report. Field Level let coaches know that...it was/is a great tool that we never knew about. Sounds like your son is on the right path, his injury didn't fall at the worst time and he still has recruitment time. Also once healed, post YouTube videos that can be linked to any sites he may be using to get his name out there. We were amazed to see the videos our son made. Good luck and drop a line as he progresses. 

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