All I remember is coming to and looking around my hospital room and realizing that there was no feeling on the right side of my upper torso.
I looked over to my right arm that was sitting in a large foam block with gauze from fingers to shoulder, just looking at my elbow sitting at the 90-degree angle, it had been placed at by the doctor, and it brought me to the realization that this was real.
A week before waking up in the hospital room, I was on the pitcher’s mound throwing a live inning to hitters from my own team.
Suddenly, I felt a tug in my elbow and the next few pitches I had little to no control over any of them.
After expressing to my coach the feeling in my elbow, I went to our athletic trainer, Missy, and explained what I had felt and what had happened in the ensuing pitches.
“Well congratulations, sounds like you tore your UCL,” she said.
A small feeling of relief came to the front of my mind, but was short lived after she told me, “You’re going to have to have surgery. You’ll be out for a year.”
The gravity of this didn’t set in for a few days.
The ulna collateral ligament is the most critical ligament in your elbow in pitching. It is also the most common elbow injury for pitchers and also tennis players.
This took place on Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning I was scheduled for an MRI.
Thursday in the Orthopedics Group offices in Corpus Christi the surgeon gave me my options for moving forward.
“Either rehab for nine months with no throwing, or cut and be back in 12 months,” the surgeon said to me.
Being the most popular baseball injury, I naturally knew the pros and cons of both treatments already.
With one I would be where I was when I got hurt, with the other I would have the opportunity to gain up to five miles per hour to my fastball guys like Stephen Strasburg.
I took about one second for my mind to be made up.
I would be having surgery the next morning at 7 a.m., strangely, I had no fear at this point.
It wasn’t until around 6:20 a.m. while praying with our team pastor, mother and head trainer that I grasped the seriousness of what was about to happen to my untouched elbow.
I had never had a surgery, or even an over night stay in the hospital but as the anesthesiologist first put in the nerve block and then the put the mask over my face and asked me to count back from a hundred it all came over me.
But it was too late to show my fear; I didn’t make it to the end of saying “100.”
When I came out of the anesthesia the realization of what my next 12 months would contain hit me.
Missy, the head trainer, sat at my bed side and gave me the run down of how hard my road back would be to my original 93 mph fastball, and how I could even gain three to five miles per hour.
I haven’t reached the end of my 12 months to a full recovery, but I am taking the steps that I need too to get back to where I want to be.
I hope that
this won’t be the end of my baseball story, and I’m sure that after working this hard it can’t be. Nearing the end of the season I am at 15 innings with 15 strike outs and a 6.60 ERA, which isn’t where I want to be, but it is the beginning of a long road and the end of my last journey.