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Improper Pitching Mechanics Result In Tommy John’s Surgery

“…a healthy crowd has turned out to watch fireballer Stephen Strasburg throw today’s bull pen.  It’s been 18 months since the Nationals star underwent Tommy John surgery – the reconstruction of that oh-so-delicate UCL – at the age of 22….  The Nationals, with their $15million starter back on the mound after a year on the disabled list, couldn’t be happier.  He looks exactly the same as he did before his elbow blew up.”

“Thirty-seven baseball seasons have passed since orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe performed the first UCL reconstruction on Dodgers southpaw Tommy John, whose name would become synonymous with the procedure….  But the two pitchers – as well as many others who have undergone UCL reconstruction — have one thing in common: a mechanical flaw in the timing of their deliveries that causes the arm to lag behind the rest of the body, putting extra stress on the shoulder and elbow.”

“Arm lag and improper sequencing were likely to blame for Strasburg’s UCL tear, as well as for those of almost everyone else knocked out by the injury.  “The timing is subtle,” says the American Sports Medicine Institute’s Glenn Fleisig, who has analyzed more than 2,000 pitchers and is on of the world’s foremost authorities on pitching biomechanics.  “It’s the difference between good and great and healthy and injury-waiting-to-happen.”

“The No. 1 risk factor for UCL injuries is poor mechanics,” he says.  “The No. 2 factor is overuse.  And if you overuse with poor mechanics, you’re doomed.”

Click on the link below for an excellent article on the exact pitching motion flaws that lead to this injury.  Also, interested pitchers who want an evaluation of their mechanics should check out Glen Fleisig of ASMI.

Source: ESPN The Magazine

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