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🔥 Why the Tommy John Epidemic Continues to Spike

The Tommy John epidemic in baseball has skyrocketed from 1 in 7 pitchers 15 years ago, to now 1 in 3


Many things have been blamed: the overall emphasis on velocity; greater horizontal ball movement (sweeper/splinker popularity); even the pitch clock


While some of those may have validity, the research pins two major catalysts:


-Pitching more than 100 innings in a year increases injury risk 3x


-Pitching more than 8 months out of the year increases injury risk 5x


The key point in the injury data is “pitching”. The reason is pitching off a mound forces the arm into greater external rotation, which causes more stress to the arm


Unfortunately, the money machine that is camps, showcases and club ball doesn’t allow for kids to get an offseason from pitching.


And sadly, nowadays many pros also never get an offseason. Throwing off a mound continues year round, as big name facilities give out throwing programs built around the constraints of the facility itself-so much of the throwing is weighted balls off a mound.


The reality of the game is velocity IS required. The good news though is an effective throwing program doesn’t have to include the stress of the mound. We’ve had college pitchers go from 81, to 92; 78, to 91; and pro pitchers gain 5mph in an offseason, all without the mound. Velocity can be gained without sacrificing arm health in the process


Unfortunately, until players, parents, and facilities accept the injury data and come up with better solutions than the current club ball year round model, and for pro guys, mound work all offseason, the Tommy John epidemic will only continue to spike


-Fenske

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