I’m pretty sure a pitcher on every major league team has had the surgery.
Loma Linda, Ca (PRWEB) July 25, 2013
Frank W. Jobe, MD, will be honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame during Induction Weekend, July 26-28, in Cooperstown, New York—and he’s never played a single inning of professional baseball.
“I knew some friends and colleagues of mine were campaigning to get me recognized by the Hall of Fame but never thought it would really happen,” Dr. Jobe admits. He said he was in shock when he got the call. “My mouth just dropped—I had no words.”
The Loma Linda University School of Medicine alumnus has been an asset to the major leagues after he pioneered the groundbreaking surgery that would save the career of hundreds of Major League Baseball pitchers. He first performed the surgery on Los Angeles Dodger Tommy John in 1974.
Roger Hadley, MD, dean of LLU School of Medicine said, “Loma Linda University School of Medicine is extremely proud of Dr. Jobe's accomplishments. We strive to matriculate physicians into the professional world so that they may have a successful and fulfilling life—not just in the medical field, but in all that they do. Dr. Jobe has done that and more. The School of Medicine is honored to have had him as a student."
Before 1974, a torn ulnar collateral ligament—a common elbow injury for many baseball pitchers—meant the end of a pitcher’s career. As an orthopaedic surgeon and team doctor for the LA Dodgers, Dr. Jobe pioneered what has come to be known as the “Tommy John” surgery, which has been performed on roughly 14% of professional pitchers. “It’s probably more than that,” Dr. Jobe stated in an interview. “I’m pretty sure a pitcher on every major league team has had the surgery.”
The ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction is essentially a ligament transplant. Dr. Jobe said of the procedure, “We take a tendon from one part of the patient’s body and reconstruct the ligament in the pitching arm to make it work like it used to.” He admits trying it was risky. “I didn’t even know if it would work,” he said. Dr. Jobe gave John a 1 in 100 chance of ever pitching again—those odds were good enough for John.
On September 26, 1975, one year and one day after the surgery, John pitched his first game for three innings and was back in rotation by 1976. A true testament to Loma Linda University’s focus on “wholeness,” Dr. Jobe admits “it wasn’t just the surgery that got John back in the game—it was the whole process. Since I had never done this before I relied on Tommy to tell me how his arm felt and how he thought he was healing. After he’d throw a few balls he’d tell me he wasn’t ready, and we’d wait a little longer.” The doctor recalls many physical therapy sessions spent with John, who was just 31 years old at the time of his surgery.
Dr. Jobe, who co-founded the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in California, went on to serve as the team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers for 40 years, and still serves as a vital resource to the team. He has been the orthopaedic consultant for the PGA and Senior PGA Tours for 26 years.
Dr. Jobe also played a vital role in saving the careers of professional baseball players in Japan—his personal care for the players and the generous teaching and training he has provided to Japanese physicians has made him a national treasure to both baseball and sports medicine followers.
The Kerlan-Jobe Clinic continues to be a vital asset in the world of sports medicine, serving athletes of every caliber.