Hitting a baseball isn't the most difficult activity in sports—changing a long-standing culture is. For many years, a player was not officially diagnosed with a concussion unless there was a loss of consciousness. That started to change a few decades ago, but the physiological causes and long-term effects of concussions still were not fully understood. Thus, practices among players and non-medical personnel remained static.
Corey's painstaking research produces a new treasure trove of pitcher injury information.
After more than five years and countless hours of research, it is my pleasure to announce that disabled list transactions at Baseball Prospectus are now complete for pitchers going back to the late 1940s, and available on the “Injury History” section of the player cards. There are several points to be aware of before you dive in:
If Johan Santana is able to recover from his upcoming surgery, he will be a trailblazer for major-league pitchers.
It’s the final year of Johan Santana’s six-year, $137.5 million deal, but it looks like his Mets tenure has already concluded. Dr. David Altchek is scheduled to perform shoulder surgery on Santana tomorrow, after the lefty reportedly re-tore his anterior capsule during a spring bullpen session.
This will be the second time the former Cy Young winner has undergone the procedure. Santana first underwent the surgery back in 2010 and subsequently missed the entire 2011 season. When he returned, the southpaw was a shadow of his former self, posting a FRA+ of 102—better than average, but his worst numbers in over 10 years.
There are a variety of reasons why ACL injuries like Mat Gamel's can recur.
Some players can’t escape the injury prone label, and Mat Gamel might earn it soon. On Monday, we learned that Gamel suffered a mid-portion tear of the ACL graft in his surgically repaired right knee. Despite his knee receiving a green light twice within the last month, Gamel suffered the ACL tear during the first full-squad workout on Saturday.
ACL surgery, while one of the more prevalent surgeries in sports medicine, is both never routine and not guaranteed to be 100 percent successful. Among top sports medicine surgeons, the failure rate ranges up to three percent, while 10 percent is a commonly cited figure for most others. Even though failure is unlikely, the primary cause for ACL graft failure is a technical error by the surgeon that causes additional stress across the graft. The surgeon can make several errors including, but not limited to: improper drill hole angles in the femur or tibia, too much or too little tension in the graft after securing it, and a failure to recognize a concomitant injury such as a partial PCL tear. These mistakes can lead to the ACL getting too much force or getting force too quickly.
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Chris Carpenter's season is over before it had a chance to begin thanks to a thoracic outlet syndrome flare-up.
Chris Carpenter made an amazing return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) surgery last year, but his 2013 season—and, potentially, his career—is now in jeopardy following a setback with his shoulder. Carpenter was throwing off the mound recently when his symptoms returned, this time worse than before. He is also experiencing numbness in his arm and bruising in his shoulder and hand. Carpenter informed Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak of the situation after trying to throw three different times without success. During their conversations, Carpenter expressed concern about how his shoulder will respond to life after baseball, let alone pitching at a high level.
Carpenter’s surgery was not an experimental one, but it’s not a common one, either. The area affected involves the neurovascular bundle as it passes from the neck and trunk through the shoulder and down the arm, as pictured in Figure 1.
Checking in on injuries to Alex Rodriguez, Mike Napoli, Corey Hart, Jesse Litsch, and more.
Rodriguez finally underwent surgery on his left hip, and even though it went as expected, he’ll probably be out until mid-July. During the arthroscopic surgery, three small incisions were made for the instruments before Dr. Bryan Kelley addressed a cam impingement, a torn labrum, a cyst, and cartilage damage. It's not the worst possible scenario, but it's a lot of things to fix in one procedure.
Last year, Ben and I authored a mini-series focusing on common baseball injuries. One of the best-received articles covered hip injuries, focusing on impingement with labral tears—a condition that is becoming increasingly more prevalent in all athletes. You can read that article here. A quick recap: The labrum is a ring of cartilage that deepens the socket for the femoral head to stay in. Cam lesions are bumps off the femoral head that develop over time. The x-ray below illustrates this more clearly:
The AL East was a disaster zone for injuries in 2012.
The American League East was simply not good at keeping their players healthy in 2012. Teams might now decide to invest more in their medical staff, but that’s doubtful. However, there is a good shot of these ranking being roughly the same in 2013. With that, let’s check the final installment of the year-end injury review.
The White Sox are usually one of the industry's injury-prevention leaders, but they were surpassed by a division rival in 2012.
The American League Central is the healthiest division in baseball. This hasn’t always been the case, but the White Sox are consistently near the top of the health charts. However, Chicago’s rivals are now starting to give it a run for its money.