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My 17 year old Junior RHP hurt his elbow while pitching on April 1. Rested for 2 weeks with some PT mixed in. Still bothered him so we had a consult with a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon. He had an xray and MRI. Long story short, he said he had a sprained UCL with indications that he had had a previous injury in the past. Even though he has never had pain in his elbow before. Recommended conservative treatment, which included no throwing and PT treatment.

Things had been going well. He has been hitting (DH,PH) with no pain. He started a light throwing program a couple of weeks ago, which lead to a light 20-25 pitch BP at what he said was 50% or less. He was monitored by his pitching coach. Basically working on mechanics. Last pitch he felt some pain again. Not near as bad as original but enough that he stopped right away. Definetly in the same spot.

After speaking to his trainer & PT, I decided to go to another sports ortho and get a second opinion. They are highly thought of and used by our local NBA team and two major colleges for their sports programs. Just now having his consult and MRI report sent over.

Other than venting here about his situation, I was wondering has anyone had similar issues with the UCL? One would think that 8 weeks would be enough with the treatment he has had. Assuming something hasn't been missed, can it take this long or longer to heal up. His summer for pitching is pretty much shot. I'm going to cancel some college camps and combines he's been invited to. I've even had interested coaches ask me how he's doing. I've been up front with them, but now expect they'll back off until they hear better news....Would appreciate any comments.

Signed RHP frustrated dad...AKA, Chris
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Well to start, he wasn't "resting" if he was hitting.

Second, yes these injuries can take time. I had a softball player this year suffer two UCL sprains. The funny part was how she did it the first time.. STRETCHING. She laid off for awhile, did some PT, and was cleared to play. Last week of the season she had pain in the same spot after throwing.

These injuries take time. Don't rush!
The doctor followed protocol. Depending on the sprain, would be the recommended rest, rehab and throwing program.

It could take that long or longer to heal or it may never heal. Bulldog is correct, these injuries take a very long time to heal. Just because there was no pain when your son hit, didn't mean it was healed.

Best of luck.
He first had an Xray and then the MRI. Read by the radiologist and ortho doctor. No tear per them. When he threw yesterday, he said it felt great every pitch but the last. Maybe 20 pitches at 50% or less. Not near as bad when he hurt it but enough to know it was the same thing.

Feel bad for him. Gave up his winter sport for off season workouts. Worked his tail off and came into the season in great shape. Just one of those things I guess. May have been a matter of time before it happened. Who knows? We'll see what the other guy says when we go in for another opinion. He use to work for the LA Dodgers, so hopefully he'll have a better idea what may be wrong. Can't help but to have Tommy John thoughts creep through your mind. Cross that bridge if we come to it.
Eastside Dad,

I can certainly hear your frustration and rightly so. All us parents want our sons to play and enjoy this great game pain free with hopes of one day going to the next level if it's meant to be.

I can say that I speak from personal experience. lol. And when the others say that time is your friend, it's the absolute truth. Don't view this right now as something he is missing this summer but better that he is taking necessary time to heal so he can be ready to go next spring. Through this disappointment and adversity he will grow in ways that you can't see yet. You will begin to see in him a resolve to compete and do the things required to get back there.

Short story to maybe use if it's needed. A high school teammate of my son was a 6'8 lefty that threw in the low 90s. He had a TON of interest his Senior year as you could imagine. Being the fine young man he is he was recruited by Army and he accepted. Pitched spotty appearances as a freshman (as most do). He felt a twinge in his throwing arm after his freshman year (or there about) and was shut down from pitching. Ultimately he gave up pitching altogether and played 1B and DH. Broke a few Army hitting records, make 2nd Team All-American his Sophomore year. So in the end, just because he could no longer pitch he didn't let that end his baseball hopes and dreams.

He just graduated from West Point last month and is now a fresh, new 2nd Lieutenant in the Army!!

Here's hoping that everything works out fine for your son.

Originally posted by EastsideRHP12:
He first had an Xray and then the MRI. Read by the radiologist and ortho doctor. No tear per them. When he threw yesterday, he said it felt great every pitch but the last. Maybe 20 pitches at 50% or less. Not near as bad when he hurt it but enough to know it was the same thing.

Did your son see the doctor prior to beginning his throwing program for an ok? Also, did his PT include intensive work to strengthen the shoulder?

I agree with Dad04, just shut it down until you see the doc again.
TPM...No he did not. The PT came along with us to his appointment. They discussed what do and he followed his recommendations. He did work on shoulder exercises and stretching. He said it felt great for 20 or so throws. Just the last one when he felt it. Hope it's just a matter of being soon after injury.

Younggundad...Thank you for the thoughtful words. When you have coaches wanting to see him pitch including D1s, it's depressing to have to tell them he's down and why. He was excited for the summer and now..well you know. He has a couple of good offers from smaller schools but really hoped this summer who be his chance to show his stuff. He does have a good attitude and says he'll do whatever it takes to get back. If that means several months, so be it.

My son's elbow pain was intially looked at by 2 different orthopedic centers (one of which is the center of choice for the NBA team) and BOTH diagnosed the problem as tendonitis.
Finally the third Dr talked with him for 5 minutes, performed an MRI and we found out that his UCL was essentially gone.

It pays to get numerous opinions and to make sure you are talking with physicians who have experience with baseball injuries. If we had been a bit more assertive, he probaly could have played this past spring. A it is he missed his sophomore year.

Good luck

My son had some UCL issues this past winter. I know it can be a very frustrating time for parents and player. We went to a sports medicine center for the initial diagnosis, and they recommended a very well respected orthopedic surgeon for his treatment, which ended up not including surgery. His PT lasted for 6 weeks with no throwing at all. He had a follow up visit with the surgeon, at which time he was cleared to begin throwing. His throwing program was similar to what you had described, 20 throws at 50% from about 40 ft. on flat ground. Distance and velocity was gradually increased until he was making 80 throws from 120 ft. That was followed by another visit to the dr. to be cleared to start throwing from the mound, 40 pitches (fastballs only) at about 75%, broken into two groups of 20 with a short break between to simulate innings. The whole process took about 5 months.

Do you know at what distance your son his throwing? Maybe a longer distance could be contributing to the irritation. Also, could he possibly be having mechanical issues?

Good luck to you and your son. I hope everything works out for him.
Last edited by OH BBMom

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