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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

J Mejia Injury/Impending Surgery

I've been wanting to comment on the Mejia injury since it was first revealed he has a torn MCL (also known as UCL, ulnar collateral ligament), and will need a Tommy John Surgery, but haven't had time until now.
Most people have been focusing/asking if the Mets caused this to occur because he was forced into a reliever role last year in order to try and save Omar and Jerry's job, but that is not the cause in my opinion.

There are a couple of mechanisms of injury for a UCL tear, with the majority of incidences are a gradual wear and tear as a result of throwing a # of pitches over a career. The other way the injury occurs is one traumatic pitch; from the quotes I have read and seen, along with the sudden increase in edema after his last start, would lead me to believe that it did occur in his last start versus a gradual wear and tear. Either way, it doesn't change the rehabilitation or the surgery. A completely torn UCL is a completely torn UCL, and needs to be repaired surgically if the player wants to return to prior level of function.

So why are we talking about this if there is nothing that is going to change? Some people will say, "People come back and throw harder after Tommy John, this isn't such a bad thing for Mejia."
Hyperabduction; you should be able to see his arm, not for it to be behind him
The reason we are talking about this is that plenty was made about Mejia's poor mechanics last year and this year, and that I was very concerned he would be able to hold up long term without a serious injury. My first thought would be that he would injure his shoulder due to the hyperabduction and lack of use of his front side, but it turned out he had a greater weakness in the kinetic chain, which turns out to be his elbow.
Since he's not utilizing his front side, he's putting all the stress on his shoulder and elbow.
While I never wish a player to be injured, it does help validate the need for the Mets to correct this young man's mechanics after the surgery to prevent another cascade of injuries in the future. What I mean by this is that a lot of the post-surgical rehabilitation is done to make sure the elbow is strong, if he continues to impose the same stresses he did prior to the surgery, something else along the kinetic chain(body) will begin to break down.

Mejia has electric stuff, and has a chance to be a front-line starter if he can healthy. But this will delay is potential impact as a major starter from 2012 to 2013 at the earliest (it's a 12 month recovery, but he will not be ready to contribute at the major league level right at that 12 month mark).

Good luck, get the surgery done sooner rather than later (with Dr. Altchek), and work hard through the rehab Mr. Mejia. If you have any questions, just let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Bummer on Mejia...also going to be a bummer when Reyes gets traded or leaves...I don't agree with it, but I don't see how they are going to keep him. I mean it's such a hot rumor rightn now yankees fans are clamoring for Reyes...