As a collegiate baseball athlete, the last thing you, your parents, or your coach want is an injury that puts you out of the game for weeks or even longer.
A Tommy John elbow injury is one of the most common injuries seen in college and professional athletes and is one of the most dreaded injuries as it can put you out of the season entirely and involve extensive recovery time.
So we’ve put together a guide on how you can prevent a Tommy John injury throughout training and upcoming baseball games.
What Is A Tommy John Injury?
In order to prevent a Tommy John injury, the first step is to understand what it is and how it can happen.
A Tommy John injury affects the elbow and is specific to pitchers. The ligament that holds your elbow in its socket can become damaged during the repeated action of throwing the ball.
Although this injury isn’t necessarily painful in day-to-day life, it can drastically decrease a pitcher’s performance and can only be cured with surgery and a long rehab program.
However, there are some prevention techniques that you can use to avoid this injury and avoid potentially career-changing surgery.
How To Prevent A Tommy John Injury
Utilize Proper Throwing Mechanics
Pitching is a challenging and rewarding aspect of baseball that requires years of dedication and training to perfect.
However, without proper throwing mechanics, even the most talented pitchers are at risk of the dreaded Tommy John injury.
The keys to pitching success lie in balancing power with control, maintaining a consistent arm slot, and minimizing stress on the elbow joint.
Strengthen Arm And Shoulder Muscles
One of the best things a pitcher can do to prevent a Tommy John injury is to strengthen the muscles in their throwing arm and shoulder.
As well as preventing injury, this allows a pitcher to increase their ability to hit the perfect pitch, so it’s a win-win tip!
So how can you strengthen these muscles effectively?
One technique is resistance training using weights or bands, focusing on exercises such as shoulder presses, bicep curls, and tricep extensions.
Targeting your rotator cuff, which can often be overlooked in training routines, is also important for shoulder and arm stability.
By committing to a consistent strength training regimen, you can improve your performance and prevent a Tommy John injury.
Stretch Before And After Games Or Practice
Stretching before and after games as well as during practice should not be underestimated.
It can be tempting to skip these parts of your training schedule, but you could be putting yourself at risk of Tommy John surgery.
Stretching helps to increase flexibility, and range of motion in the throwing arm and reduces muscle tension after a game which contributes to protecting you against any type of injury, not just a Tommy John injury.
Check In With A Physical Therapist
In order to make sure you’re on the right track with your training and injury prevention strategies, it’s important to check in with a physical therapist like us!
Physical therapy can also help to boost your regimen by identifying weaknesses in your throwing arm and adding elements that could really benefit you in the long run and prevent a Tommy John injury.
Is Your Athlete Season Ready?
You may think your college athlete is ready for the upcoming baseball season, they’re performing well at training and on the field, but there’s that tiny doubt in your mind that there could be something off…
I have the perfect solution to your worries, a season readiness assessment. During this assessment, you will be able to get your athlete a full check to make sure they aren’t going to be prone to injury, and haven’t got any existing or previous injuries that are going to impact their performance.
You can also talk to an expert physical therapist and get a professional opinion putting your mind to rest!
If you think a season readiness assessment would ease your worries, you can arrange one by filling in our simple web form or give us a call at (609) 933-9922 if you would prefer to speak to a member of the team on the telephone.
More Free Resources For Preventing Baseball Injuries
If you’re not sure you’re ready to come and see us in the clinic yet, that’s okay! Here are free resources to help you and your child prevent shoulder pain at home.
Download Our Free Sports Injury Report – Secret Recovery Strategies That Only The Pro Athletes Know And Use
Read Our Blog – Why Am I Getting Shoulder Pain Throwing?