Tommy John Surgery Not Just For Pro Athletes

More and more college and high school athletes ungergoing the procedure

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Bob Hallinan

Executive Producer

Office: (913) 588-7284

Cell: (913)-481-7329


           The Kansas City Royals have announced former closer Greg Holland has a significant ligament tear in his arm, and is being evaluated for possible Tommy John surgery.

          Tommy John surgery, known in medical practice as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, is a surgical graft procedure in which the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. Many baseball pitchers suffer a tear in the UCL, which requires this surgery, and often takes a year and a half of rehabilitation to fully recover.

          Many doctors are seeing an increase in this procedure in younger athletes of college and even high school age. Justin Wagner a high school pitcher from Tonganoxie, KS, needed this surgery. In the video, Justin describes what happened to him, how the injury has affected his outlook, why it's important to take your time in recovering and what he's learned from the experience.

          Dr. Vince Key, an orthopedic surgeon with The University of Kansas Hospital's Sports Medicine and Performance Center, explains what's involved in the surgery, why it seems like it's happening more often, what he tells parents of young athletes and why expectations from the surgery should be tempered.

        Also included is video from Justin Wagner's rehabilitation session.