Former Major League pitcher Tommy John, most famous for being the first to have the now-famous UCL operation on his pitching elbow, spoke recently about the number of pitchers forced to end their season and have the procedure done.
The surgery is named after John, of course, so it is only natural that he would be asked about it during the season in which Dr. James Andrews says that elbow injuries are an “epidemic” in Major League Baseball. Here is what John had to say about the fact that so many pitchers have seen their seasons end already (from the Watertown Daily Times):
It’s unreal…And it’s crazy that they would pick 2014 to be an epidemic year, it seems like guys are going down right and left.”
As for what he believes has caused the increase in surgeries, John believes that it has to do with pitchers throwing too much as kids:
In essence, the injury itself is a buildup of over-use. And not overuse as an adult, but overuse as a kid…
…What I would like to see these guys do, these surgeons and all, is ask all the guys who have had the surgery — how much did you pitch as a kid and how often, and did you pitch year round? And nowadays, probably 70 to 80 percent of the pitchers today have been pitching 12 months a year since they were seven, eight or nine years old. And your arm is not made for that.”
Interesting insights from the man who made his name by having an innovative procedure done on his pitching elbow.