The Epidemic > The Big Five
I believe 80 plus percent of the pitcher injury and Tommy John surgery epidemic is being driven by a number of problematic movement patterns that pitchers don't do naturally but instead must be taught to do...
- Tommy John Surgery Twist
- Power Position
- Flying Open (with Glove Side) aka Positive Disconnection
- Spiral Staircase aka Inverted W
- Scap Loading
These movements work, and are also problematic, because they create Timing problems; the pitcher's pitching arm isn't in the right position when their pitching arm starts to come under load.
Matt Harvey's pitching mechanics are a perfect example of these problems. In my opinion, they explain Matt Harvey's past elbow and shoulder problems and set him up for more arm problems.
And, worse, more and more baseball pitchers are having problems with clots, which is just part of something I call PICNS.
However, there is some recent good news. At my urging, Dr. Glenn Fleisig of ASMI recently advised USA Baseball to STOP recommending that pitchers point the ball at second base.
The Big Five
If we can eliminate these five movement patterns, and stop using the cues that lead to them, I believe we could quickly stop the Tommy John surgery and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome epidemic in its tracks.
Tommy John Twist
Telling throwers and pitchers to point the ball at second base is the main cause of The Tommy John Twist.
While pronation into and through the release point can be good, Premature Pronation can be very bad.
The Power Position
As I write this, at the end of 2016, Justin Verlander just completed one of the best seasons of his career; a season where he returned to both health and dominance.
Tragically, many pitchers are being taught a Power Position at foot plant. that differs significantly from what Justin Verlander does.
That seemingly small difference in the pitcher's Timing -- in the position of the pitching arm when the front foot plants -- goes a long way toward explaining the epidemic.
Hyperabduction, which results from telling pitchers to get their pitching arm side elbows up above the level of their shoulders, like Matt Harvey does...
...or to keep their fingers on top of the ball (into foot plant) may be one reason why Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is becoming an increasing problem in baseball pitchers...