Orthopedic Surgeons Endorse FBR Approach

by Randy Sullivan
in blog

A few social media bombardiers nuked me recently when I said:

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Despite resistance from the mainstream, three separate orthopedic surgeons agree with the statement and have endorsed our process at The Florida Baseball Ranch.


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Dr. Ed Fehringer is from Omaha, NE.
We have worked with his son for a few years now.
Here’s what he say:

“As an orthopaedic surgeon that specializes in shoulder and elbow surgery, I found myself frequently judging most baseball families as delusional when I would see them in my office. Worse yet, I passed my judgments onto orthopaedic surgery residents and medical students that I was training. My answer for 95% of those with sore arms from throwing baseballs: rest. While rest and/or limited throwing helps to eliminate pain in most any arm (before a tear or cartilage or bony injury is present), both the quantity and quality with which those baseballs were being thrown are important variables to address. Rest allows one’s arm pain to diminish and heal, but going back to the same movement patterns that lead to the injury is not helpful long-term.”


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Dr. Matt Bernard is a Chatanooga, TN orthopedic surgeon. In his college days, Dr. Bernard pitched
for an Alabama Crimson Tide team that battled to the final game of the College World Series. After
attending our Jan 20-21 Elite Performance Boot Camp with his 11 year old son, he said this:

“As a former college pitcher and current orthopedic surgeon, I have been searching for  a program for my son that could increase velocity on the mound and at the plate based on sound evidence and experience. I could not be more excited about what we experienced this weekend and can’t wait to implement the program at home.”


And finally, Win Chang, M.D. is a former Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases. He invented The Shoulder Sphere, a device we use in our rehab, arm care and conditioning processes. Here’s his response to my tweet.

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Arm health and performance cuts deeper than pitch counts and innings limits. This chart ranks the 6 types of contributors to arm pain and sub-par  performance. They appear in order of importance.

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Notice that workload is listed at number 5.
If numbers 1 through 4 are good, an athlete should be able to handle a larger workload without pain or deterioration of performance.

On the other hand, if 1through 4 are not good, 10 pitches may be too much. Shutting a pitcher down as the only treatment elevates “overuse” to the role of primary contributor to the pain.

Ok, in the absence of known structural damage, a brief  period of rest might be indicated to settle things down. But, if we don’t identify and address the other underlying contributing variables, we shouldn’t expect the problem to resolve. It’s a cycle I see far too often. The pain subsides with rest, but when the athlete starts throwing again, he’s right back where he started.

Can we all agree on a reasonable volume cap?
Of course.

But, that limit has to be examined on a case-by-case basis. Managing arm pain in the elite throwing athlete demands a more complex approach. Narrowly focusing on pitch counts or innings limits to “keep a pitcher safe” can create false limitations and a false sense of security.

I covered it in my book Start With The Pain: The Complete Guide to Managing Arm Pain in The Elite Throwing Athlete.

At The Florida Baseball Ranch we offer monthly weekend Elite Performance Boot Camps that feature head-toe-physical examinations and video analyses of every attendee. We use that information to develop laser targeted training plans that help each player thread the needle perfectly between development and safety.
If you sign up for our Feb 24/25 or March 17/18 Camps, we’ll give you a free digital copy of Start With The Pain ($119 value) and a free 30-day membership to Durathro®, our on-line training system stocked with over 100 tutorial videos.

Execute your plan and you’ll see your velocity and command take off (last summer, our students averaged a 4.5 mph velo gain and 13% strike percentage improvement over 8 weeks).

You’ll train confidently, knowing that you’re using the most advanced information to limit your risk of injury while you improve your ability.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

We can’t wait to see you at The Ranch.

Randy Sullivan, MPT, CSCS

P. S. In young athletes with potential growth plate injuries, rest might be the preferred plan of action. But, the unpredictable nature of growth plate injuries doesn’t excuse us from investigating all possible contributors after the youngster resumes throwing. I wrote about it in my blog called “What is a Growth Plate Injury?” .

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