Tommy John Surgery Not Just For Big Leaguers

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Jill Chadwick

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Cell: (913) 223-3974


          We hear more and more about major league pitchers having Tommy John surgery these days. Several pitchers in the Kansas City Royals spring training camp in Surprise, Arizona have had the procedure. But many doctors are seeing an increase in this surgery in younger athletes of college and even high school age.

Dr. Vince Key, team doctor for The Royals and orthopedic surgeon with The University of Kansas Hospital's Sports Medicine and Performance Center, says many baseball pitchers suffer a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which requires this surgery, and often takes a year and a half of rehabilitation to fully recover.            

In the video, Dr. Key, who has performed the operation on both pro and amateur athletes, explains what's involved in the surgery, why it seems like it's happening more often, the myths vs. the facts of the procedure, what he tells parents of young athletes and why expectations from the surgery should be tempered.

            Also on the video, Dr. Key and Royals head athletic trainer Nick Kenney, who work closely with each other year round, explain their unique relationship, and how having the resources of the whole medical team at The University of Kansas Hospital has been a tremendous advantage for the world-champion Royals.