Reveal Injury History to College Coaches (Recruiting)?


#1

My son is a high school junior RHP. Made varsity as a sophomore on a very good team. Well thought of enough by coaching staff to start playoffs for them. Profiles for D3 baseball, not D1 (not in my opinion, anyway).

What’s the best tactic in terms of sharing (or not) some minor injury history? Here’s the background…

He found himself with a sore elbow this past December, while starting his arm conditioning program to prepare for the current season. Rested for 2 weeks. No improvement. Visited an orthopedist. Did XRays and MRIs. Orthopedist found NO structural damage of any kind (sigh of relief), but saw a little inflamation where the various bones of the elbow connect (you can tell I"m not a Dr. by that description!). Assessed the problem as one where his shoulder had lost range of motion from too much weight training and so now the elbow was taking on too much responsibility for the deceleration phase, causing the soreness She sentenced him to some more rest and a PT program (we were lucky enough to land a PT who works with some MLB pitchers).

He was finally pain free by early Feb and began the “return to throw program” whereby he stretches his throwing distance a little bit, every other day. He’s set to start bullpens next week and – knock wood – return to game action in 3 weeks.

So, he’s fully healthy and had NO structural problems nor anything that should be recurring. Some of his college coaches (the ones he’s talked to) have asked for updated video – and of course he doesn’t have any from this season. Should my son just avoid the subject of why or come forth and soft-play his issues by saying he was out with some tendinitis (i.e. something that won’t feel so worrisome)?

I’ve found that college coaches could care less about high school stats so they haven’t asked him about his this season (good, since none exist). I figure if we can avoid making any disclosure until the summer, my son will be in good shape. At that point, the coaches will either finalize a deicsion they want him or not based on tournament/showcase/camp performances. But for now, what do folks think about the risks of disclosing this type of injury. Note: I will not, not let my son, make a false statement to a coach. I don’t mind avoiding the subject but if asked a direct quesiton, he’ll answer it truthfully.

Thoughts?


#2

Sounds like your son’s injury history isn’t really much of one. I’m with you - don’t bring it up but if asked, answer truthfully. Remember your son will be setting expectations by what he says. If coaches/scouts think he’s perfectly healthy then they will expect him to be able to carry a corresponding workload and to perform accordingly.


#3

I’m going to approach your question from a coach’s - wants and needs.

I realize that you’re trying to do the best for your son, and that’s a pretty straight forward proposition that every coach, responsible for recruiting, understands. Therefore, there are things that a recurring coach and even a scout will do, behind the scenes as a matter of experience and professional competency.

First off, everybody goes through some kind of soreness and arm/elbow/shoulder issue. Some of these issues are minor and others are not. So during your face to face interview, you might want to be aware of the relaxed environment, the casual banter back and forth, and the buddy-buddy nature of the person/persons that you and your son will be talking to. Since your shooting for a D3 organization, I wouldn’t expect much in the way of “who are you” kind of meeting. I would expect a personal encounter that “sells” the college more than anything. So enjoy the visit(s), tell you boy to smile a lot, be respectful with “yes coach/no coach” and show an eagerness to support that club. I’d focus on the history of the club, who they compete against and those outcomes. I’d ask a lot of questions like:
-what kind of pitching staff are you collecting this season and the nest two seasons?
-where do you see me fitting into that pitching staff?
-what kind of weight, game endurance and so forth do you want from me?
-where do you expect me to play summer ball?
-what meal plan should I purchase?

Why do I suggest these questions? Because, if you get any kind of … “|Aaahhhh… well …uhhmm…” kind of generalities, then you know the health history is not going to be any kind of deal breaker, in any sense of the word.

But, be aware of this … your son will be filling out a application, probably a lot of them. On those applications will be a question or two of his health history. Bank on it. Also will be a question or two … who is your family doctor… or primary physician? In addition, just be aware of this word… ANY. Also, your son will be required to participate in a physical and a performance evaluation prior to being accepted, as a general rule. So just be mindful of keeping secrets that might come back to haunt him and you later on.

There is one thing in your son’s favor - you were smart enough to take that soreness in your son’s arm, early, and take it serious enough to find out why. Your son was seen by a professional and therefore was under the guidance and care of a professional. Every single youngster playing baseball that pitches goes through this kind of soreness - rarely do they receive the attention like your son had. So, if the subject comes up, you have a ironclad way of addressing it.

I should note something that goes under the radar of a lot of parents and their son’s. Your son will be 18 or older when he visits a recruiter - yes? If so, and he starts to fill out a application and some questionnaires, just be advise that he’ll be at the age of majority, therefore, considered an adult to all the implications that follow that.


#4

Here’s a question that really caught me off guard when visiting a Sophomore who was passed over by others. I really wanted this guy because I saw things that our people were willing to “go with”.

Ok, a little background first…
In the prior year we were literally hammered by a club, twice. There was one batter, a man cut from the Expos, who knocked us around pretty good. So, every time he tapped the dish… a fan in the crowd had a souvenir… a souvenir on his first pitch no less.

This sophomore looks at me, reminds me of the losses…then says to me…. I want to be with your organization just so I can face that guy for payback!

So… find a game that this D3 college loss, and lost big time. Find the player’s name who hammered them at the plate, then say to the recruiter … I want to be with your organization (collage) just so I can face that guy for payback!

Watch your recruiter’s jaw drop … just like mine did…


#5

I played DI and never had an exam to my knowledge. The coaching staff came to one game and signed me and a teammate that afternoon. I wish I would have waited but…I won’t let my son make that mistake. I would be honest with whomever, just be ambiguous. It doesn’t sound like your son had any major issues just an imbalance of strength. That is the real, underlying reason for almost all throwing injuries. Don’t let him go off weight lifting with his football team in the off season. Take him to a Stack or something similar. Good luck to him. Don’t settle on DIII. All it takes is one good game and the right people there to watch him. I know recruiting has changed but if your kid is good, coaches will find him.


#6

As with any program and institution, you’ll find a variety of systems and ways of doing business. Some formal, some not. Regardless of the environment that you and your son are walking into, the important thing is to be consistent with your demeanor and presentation. Start now with a “who are you.” Keep it simple and to the point. I would also suggest staying away from stories that can lead your son into an unfamiliar “what if” kind of thing.

Best wishes to your son on his baseball experience.