So-called Tommy John surgery, a surgical repair for injured elbows, has saved the careers of many a major-league pitcher. While this may seem like an extreme treatment for a high school athlete, a recent study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine has found teenage pitchers now undergo more of the procedures than any other group. These results highlight the risk of overuse injuries in this age group, according to orthopedic specialists.

The study found that athletes ages 15 to 19 account for 56.8 percent of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction procedures, commonly known as Tommy John surgery after the pitcher who won more than half the victories in his 26 years in the major leagues after becoming the first person to undergo the procedure.

Damage to the UCL, a band of tissue in the elbow that binds the upper and lower arm bones together, is typically an overuse injury caused by throwing at extreme intensity and frequency.

Sports have become so competitive that young athletes are often playing for nine or more months every year on school teams, travel teams and in multiple leagues, tournaments, showcases, camps, indoor ball and other programs. Playing when fatigued, and when a player’s physical condition and technique may not be the best increase the risk of developing an overuse injury.

Published in Dr Allegra Blog
You are here: Home Our Blog Displaying items by tag: sports medicine