Jaffe: Take-home points from ASMI’s new Tommy John surgery paper

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at SI.com on May 29, 2014:

It’s no secret that Tommy John surgeries are up around professional baseball, and most notably in the major leagues. Every time a pitcher leaves the mound with an arm injury, the baseball world cringes, bracing for the telltale MRI that will add another name — from the famous (Jose Fernandez) to the obscure (Jose Cisneros) — to the rolls of those out for the remainder of the season and suddenly facing a career crossroads as their ulnar collateral ligaments are reconstructed. On Wednesday, the American Sports Medicine Institute released a position paper outlining the leading causes of the injuries, dispelling some common myths about the surgery and offering recommendations for keeping both youth and professional pitchers healthy.

Co-founded by Dr. James Andrews, the sports world’s top orthopedic surgeon, and featuring the research of Dr. Glenn Fleisig, the ASMI is the leading authority on pitcher biomechanics and injuries, and they’re a go-to source for insight into a problem that they’ve termed “an epidemic.” What follows are the top five take-home points from the paper, which itself is only around a thousand words, not including research citations.

But first, some numbers. Via the disabled list data at Baseball Heat Maps, 42 Tommy John surgeries have been performed this year, 39 of them on pitchers, 20 of whom were major leaguers. With three days to go in May, that’s already the second-highest season total on record. The high of 35 came in 2012; by this date, 16 pitchers had gone under the knife, so it’s fair to say that the current pace threatens that all-time high, particularly given that June is the most common month for the surgery.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2014/05/29/tommy-john-surgery-paper-dr-james-andrews-asmi/

Originally published: May 29, 2014. Last Updated: May 29, 2014.