Dr. Christopher S. Ahmad Discusses Potential Risk Factors of Returning to Baseball Post COVID-19

Baseball player on the mound holding two baseballs.

New York Yankees and NYCFC Head Team Physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad discusses the potential risk factors of returning to baseball post COVID-19 and a possible link to a spike in Tommy John cases in his blog post.

With over 20 years of experience in performing Tommy John surgeries, Dr. Ahmad explains how each spring season comes with a surge in cases.  He outlines the reasons as “sudden start of play, rapid competition intensity, lack of early season physical conditioning, lower preparation coming from offseason, not yet fully optimized throwing mechanics, and playing with elbow pain. Many players after the long offseason waiting period, are unwilling to disclose elbow pain or acknowledge their lack of preparation fearing they will be shut down right away.”  These causes are normally associated with the general uptick of Tommy John surgeries each spring, and with all the isolation practices and children being more sedentary staying indoors, the consequences of the Coronavirus may amplify these scenarios even more.

Dr. Christopher S. Ahmad

To try and avoid these complications, Dr. Ahmad suggests the following, “Players should continue and if not already, initiate, a strengthening and endurance program for their shoulder, elbow, and also their core & leg/base muscles. This may be accomplished with video interaction with strength coaches and baseball coaches.  Players should plot out on a calendar, a throwing program that serves as a preparation for a season.  Progressive throwing and building up arm strength while exposing the body to incremental stress can greatly reduce injury when baseball resumes.  Most importantly, recognizing elbow pain and injury symptoms should be taken very seriously.”  Overall, a slow and steady approach for return to sport is key for kids in this post COVID-19 world.

Dr. Ahmad’s warning to athletes has gotten the attention of the baseball community with numerous media outlets; including the New York Post, NJ.com, MLB Trade Rumors, and Newsday; covering the discussion on how COVID19 could worsen the Tommy John epidemic.

To read more and for further information, go to Dr. Ahmad’s blog.