Case Study : Tommy John Surgery

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Tommy John Surgery is an operation that repairs an injured elbow for mostly college baseball and pro baseball athletes but also younger athletes. Generally, the surgery is done to pitchers, left or right handed, that throw curve balls and sinker fastballs. Doctors call this the Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction. UCLR is when there is repetitive stress damage to the elbow which was done first to a former and famous baseball player named Tommy John in 1974 by Dr. Frank Jobe. The surgical operation is done by which a ligament in the medial elbow is removed and then replaced with a different tendon in the body. This tendon is often taken from the hamstring, forearm, or foot of the person (Baseball Reference). The procedure takes the tendon and threads it through like a figure eight pattern with holes that are drilled into the humerus and ulna bone. Most people say it’s called the “dead arm injury” (Baseball Reference). Tommy John played for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a lefty pitcher. During a game, John was taken out of a game when he couldn’t even make the ball to the plate. He was pulled by his manager when John told him his arm was injured. After the game, Dr. Jobe checked his arm out and told him to ice it and take a few days off and rest. John’s elbow did not improve and was sent to get x-rays. Dr. Jobe could not see the extensiveness of the injury in the ligament so he sent Tommy to a specialists where he was told “rest and home therapy” (SABR). After a month of

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