Increase in number of high school baseball players needing Tommy John surgery

July 09, 2019 06:48 PM

Tommy John surgery, a procedure that re-constructs a torn elbow ligament, is traditionally performed on Major League Baseball pitchers. However, experts say the number of high-school athletes who need it has risen in the past decade.

Experts believe the uptick in surgeries among these young athletes is often the result of too much too soon.

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Athletes between the ages of 15 and 19 needing the surgery rose by more than 50 percent since it was first performed in the 1970s.

Doctors say we tend to underestimate the amount of throwing our children are doing, so keeping pitches to a minimum and allowing for proper rest is key.

"Overuse is responsible for the vast majority of these injuries. The best way to take care of these injuries is not let them happen in the first place. So pay attention to pitch-counts, and pay attention to throwing in any and all leagues,” said Dr. Paul Saluan, with Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Saluan says it's important to learn to throw properly. Poor throwing mechanics can lead to injury. A young athlete should never push through pain to keep playing.


WNYT Staff

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