is tommy john surgery career ending

is tommy john surgery career ending

Is Tommy John Surgery Career Ending?

Tommy John surgery is a surgical procedure that involves replacing a damaged elbow ligament with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. It’s been used to mend the elbows of some of the greatest athletes in the world, leading many to assume that the procedure is career-ending. However, this is not always the case.

The History of Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John surgery has existed since 1974, when medical pioneer Dr. Frank Jobe developed the procedure for baseball player Tommy John. Since then, the surgery has become popular with professional athletes and recreational players alike, as it offers an effective way to recover from an elbow injury.

What Does Tommy John Surgery Involve?

The procedure is fairly straightforward. It involves making a few small incisions in the elbow to replace the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (usually from the forearm or hamstring). It then takes 7-12 months for the UCL to heal and reattach itself to the bone.

Can Tommy John Surgery End a Career?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. The truth is that Tommy John surgery can either end or save a career, depending on the situation. There are a few factors that can impact this decision, including:

  • Type of Injury: If the injury is minor, then the surgery may be able to repair it without ending the player’s career. However, if the injury is severe or stems from an underlying condition, then the surgery may not be able to prevent permanent damage.
  • Age of Athlete: Younger athletes often have the best results from Tommy John surgery, as their bodies are more likely to heal quickly. Older athletes, on the other hand, may not be able to fully recover from the procedure and may never be able to return to the same level of play.
  • Physical Strength: Physical conditioning prior to the procedure is also important. Stronger athletes have a better chance of returning to peak performance than those who are not physically fit.

Final Word

At the end of the day, whether or not Tommy John surgery ends a career really depends on a number of factors. It’s important to talk to a doctor or health professional to get a better understanding of what the surgery entails and how it could impact your career.

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