UCL Questions

I suffered a Grade 2 UCL tear back in May (had MRI and ultrasound). I rehabbed for two months with no luck on the returning to throwing program. I tried an alternative to surgery next; a PRP injection. Things went pretty smoothly in my opinion and my ligament looked very good under ultrasound. About a month ago, I was throwing at roughly 95% velocity. However, one day I noticed I had loss a lot of velocity after roughly 15 pitches, but didn’t feel any pain while throwing. The next two days I was extremely sore in my elbow and did not throw. The soreness went away and I tried to just play catch and something was noticeably wrong. I’m now roughly 4 weeks since the re-injury. I have no pain in any valgus stress tests, but am unable to throw move than 60ft without any pain. I had an ultrasound exam yesterday, and my ligament looked great according to my doctor who works in professional baseball. He was unable to the explain my pain.

It is extremely frustrating knowing that 9+ months of rehab every single day was not enough. I have two remaining years of eligibility left, and with the baseball season already underway, I’m at a crossroad…

Do I attempt to rehab and continue the return the interval throwing program in hopes to be ready later in the year (however the doctor and my trainer could not say with any confidence when this would be) ? OR Should I get reconstructive surgery?

Also, what are good ways to remain upbeat and positive after suffered a re-injury?


Evidently the problem not only isn’t going to go away, it’s been getting more troublesome and causing you a great deal of pain and discomfort. Don’t wait any longer. See an orthopedic surgeon and get the Tommy John; sure it will take a lot of time and rehabbing, but eventually you’ll return to full strength and be able to resume pitching. There have been a lot of pitchers who have done this and have come back to have successful careers; why shouldn’t you be one of them? :baseballpitcher:

My son had Tommy John as a sophomore in high school after a couple periods where his ortho surgeon knew the ulnar collateral ligament was compromised, but hoped that rest and rehab would heal it.

His surgeon is a pretty prominent sports doctor. His theory from when my son was age 13 1/2 and throwing 85 mph was, “Surgery is invasive. People treat it like it’s nothing, but it’s the last resort. If a young pitcher can possibly heal, that’s the first option. I don’t want to do surgery on a young pitcher like your son until you both come in here and tell ME it’s absolutely time for surgery.”

So…resting and rehabbing as you had was absolutely the right thing to do. My son came back both times and felt fine. He actually might have recovered completely entering his freshman year, but his varsity baseball coach overworked him…I didn’t step in and raise hell over it…and things went from sore but pitching great to him being really sore. The elbow locked up on him in a tournament in Arizona…so he rested another full summer, etc. He came back as a sophomore and was throwing so well he was going to be the ace of a pitching staff with a kid headed for U of Arizona, you know? So…again…rest and rehab helped.

But…one day in the pen he was warming up to close a game and just knew something was really, really wrong. He came into pitch and he showed the 2 symptoms of a pitcher who’s elbow was destablized and in need of surgery…he had no velocity (and he was up over 86, 87, 88 at that point) and he simply could not throw a strike.

After he pitched 1/3 of an inning…he said he wanted to see the doctor. He had surgery a few days later. The doctor said, “There aren’t any guarantees that surgery results in a kid coming back 100%…that’s why I wanted YOU guys to tell ME when HE wanted surgery.”

My son didn’t come back 100%. His elbow doesn’t hurt, but it wasn’t the story we hear when a big leaguer returns. He still has far less velocity and command. His ulnar nerve started pressing against something and he thought he was done, forever, 3 weeks ago. (Turns out that nerve thing is easy to fix in his case.)

So…if YOU think you need surgery. Tell your ortho guy. He works for YOU. All you get on here is conjecture and opinion…but, my son’s timing was such that he didn’t pitch past his freshman year…a few innings as a sophomore…some innings (not very good) as a junior…a full summer last year and then 17 pretty OK innings this year before the nerve deal.

It’s your arm…your career…so, make the best decision you can. At some point…a long rest and rehab means you’re not a college scholarship kid or a draftable kid…but, the important thing is getting to pitch in high school, I think.