SATURDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Many young baseball
players, parents and coaches have serious misconceptions about the
causes of pitching-related elbow injuries and the benefits of
having a common elbow procedure called Tommy John surgery,
according to a new survey.
Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction is the medical term for
the surgery, named after former Major League pitcher Tommy John,
the first professional athlete to successfully undergo the
"Despite the recognized risk of pitch type and amount of pitches, nearly a third of those we surveyed did not believe pitch counts were a risk factor for injury," the survey's lead author, Dr. Christopher Ahmad of Columbia University's Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine, said in a news release from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
"Even more disturbing was the fact that a quarter of players and coaches thought that a pitcher's performance could be enhanced by having a Tommy John surgery," Ahmad said.
He and his colleagues surveyed 189 players, 15 coaches and 31
parents. They described as alarming their finding that 51 percent
of high school players believed elbow surgery should be performed
even if a player doesn't have an injury, with the sole goal of
The survey also revealed that 31 percent of coaches, 28 percent
of players and 25 percent of parents did not relate pitch type with
injury risk, and that 31 percent of coaches did not believe that
the number of pitches thrown was a risk factor for elbow ligament
A substantial percentage of survey participants also believed
that a player's control and velocity of pitches could be improved
by having Tommy John surgery.
The findings were to be presented Feb. 19 at the society's
Specialty Day program in San Diego.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about
elbow injuries caused by throwing.