We are wrapping up a lengthy softball and baseball season with playoffs coming on the horizon. With notoriously long games and seasons compared to other sports, we have really settled in for the marathon that is baseball and softball.
A trending byproduct from these lengthy seasons are elbow and shoulder injuries caused by overuse. “Tommy John surgery is the most common surgery in baseball right now and is required when the UCL ligament tears in the elbow. It’s happening too often and starting to happen earlier and earlier in young athlete’ careers,” says Athlete Training and Health (ATH) Senior Sports Performance coach, Trey Job, who has trained baseball and softball players at all levels, both at ATH and several Division I colleges.
When an athlete comes into ATH, our number one goal is to prevent injury.
Job, who has a background in proper movement mechanics in both his personal fitness practice and his professional, says these UCL ligament tears in the elbow result from poor mechanics and movement throughout the body. “What ends up happening is because of poor physical fitness and poor movement quality, the elbow and the shoulder end up taking the brunt of a lot of the force, and that’s why we see a lot of torn ligaments in those places.”
When an athlete comes into ATH, our number one goal is to prevent injury. To do this, the trainers at ATH focus on teaching proper movement patterns and lifting techniques in exercises like squats, hip hinges, or single-leg movements like lunges. “We want to make these kids more efficient at those movements because that’s what is going to keep these kids on the field season after season. Lack of hip mobility or a lack of ability to perform a full squat leads to more external rotation in the shoulder, which can cause more injury in the arm. So even something as simple as hip mobility can help to keep an athlete healthier in the long run,” said Job.
Throughout the rehabilitation process, ATH performance coaches and physical therapists from our healthcare partners, Memorial Hermann and Texas Health, work completely in unison so each athlete not only recovers but recovers stronger than ever.
Injuries that most commonly impact softball pitchers tend to happen in the shoulder and often times can be rehabbed with rest. Because the over-hand throw is not a natural movement, torn ligaments in the shoulder or elbow happen most commonly to baseball pitchers, but can happen to any position on the field as a result of overuse and improper movement. Recovery from a torn UCL ligament can take anywhere from nine to twelve months of rehabilitation. In regard to rehabilitation, ATH is one of the few facilities of its kind in the country with access to both top-tier performance coaches and sports medicine physical therapists under one roof. “The first thing we (performance coaches) are going to do is talk to the physical therapists to get on the same page with them regarding the limitations of the athlete,” says Job. “Basically, the physical therapist gives us a script we can work off of, and we try and gradually build at a rate that the athlete can tolerate. For example, when an athlete is coming back from Tommy John, and the physical therapist says we can work the lower body, we’ll do everything we can with the lower body that allows us to work safely without putting them in an awkward position with their injury.” Throughout the rehabilitation process, ATH performance coaches and physical therapists from our healthcare partners, Memorial Hermann and Texas Health, work completely in unison so each athlete not only recovers but recovers stronger than ever.
Without these two components, performance coaches and sports medicine physical therapists, Athlete Training and Health would just be another gym. With these two components, ATH has the ability to create individualized care for both baseball and softball players, and any athlete that comes to train with us.