Youth Sports: Tommy John Surgery Next Elective Performance Enhancement…Say What???

So the pendulum continues to swing in the WRONG direction. That is certainly my take on the report from, Tommy John surgery: The next student steroid?

Seriously…are people (student athletes, and possibly some parents) that misinformed and misguided? I suppose so. Take a look at this quote from the referenced piece above:

“In a recent study published by Ahmad in The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 50 percent of student athletes believed the surgery should be performed in absence of injury in order to improve performance – a mindset, he said, that could prove to be dangerous.”

Yes, you might want to read that again before continuing.

If that statement alone does not further support what I have said all along regarding the continued and pervasive loss of perspective and winning at all costs attitudes in our sports and youth sports culture, I don’t know what will. And fifty percent (half of all student athletes surveyed) are under this false premise…incredible!!!

To my knowledge, at least at this point, there is no surgical “replacement” procedure that we have available that can make any human part function better than the original healthy part—NOTHING!!! The very likely reason for any athlete having Tommy John surgery and their elbow coming out better than their original part centers on two things:

1.  The pain and injury occurring before the surgery (and reason for the surgery in the first place) had diminished the physical ability of the athlete, thus, the reason for the improvement once the issue was corrected. Something the piece points out.

2.  The rehabilitation for this injury (and any major reconstructive surgery, but this one in particular) is extensive, likely putting the athlete in much better physical condition than before the injury ever occurred. They are just more physically “prepared” and, thus, able to achieve better efficiency and effectiveness than what was once available to them, a logical assumption on my part.

Now, I am well aware of the fact, as medicine and surgical techniques advance into the future, that the possibility of such surgeries (ones that increase physical performance) may become available…at least someday. It is certainly something that’s a genuine concern for me as “electing” to have Tommy John surgery, without previous injury, demonstrates the extreme extent that some are willing to subject themselves to in order to “win.”

Personally, I have no problem with any medical procedure (drug or surgical) that can help bring an athlete back to their normal rate of functioning (or as close to that as possible) after an injury.

Heck, if they found that a little HGH (or something else) injected into an injury site after it was surgically repaired helped bring said athlete back to normal…then great!!!

But to take a healthy body and subject it to the kind of risks we are talking about here, all for the sake of what…a win, a scholarship, a home run record (any athletic record for that matter), well…that just doesn’t sit right with me. Seems a little off, you know, “a genuine loss of perspective.”

That’s my take on it…anyone else want to chime in?

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