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Baseball Nightmare

Sophomore suffers torn ligament in elbow

Sophomore+Matt+Pleiss+sits+behind+the+plate+waiting+for+the+pitch
Sophomore Matt Pleiss sits behind the plate waiting for the pitch

Sophomore Matt Pleiss sits behind the plate waiting for the pitch

Courtesy of Matt Pleiss

Courtesy of Matt Pleiss

Sophomore Matt Pleiss sits behind the plate waiting for the pitch

Tristan Gomes, Staff writer

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The UCL, Ulnar Collateral Ligament, is one of the most important parts of the body when it comes to baseball. The secret behind major league players throwing 100 miles an hour is the UCL. The UCL can either make or break a season. For sophomore Matt Pleiss, it broke his season.

Pleiss has been playing baseball since he was 4 years old. He started out the season on JV Green, but made his way up to JV Black quickly. On May 26th, Pleiss was on the mound against Millard North in the Millard West/South JV tournament.

“My arm hurt a little bit before the game, but I thought it was just sore,” Pleiss said. “After a few pitches I felt like something was wrong, but I didn’t want to come out.”

Pleiss was the ace on JV Green; the best pitcher on the team. Pleiss had a 1.07 ERA, earned run average, which was the best on the team. In his first outing against Millard North, Pleiss gave up four runs in the first inning, two of those runs earned. He came out after the inning and told coach Shawn Juricek that he felt a severe pain in his arm. Juricek knew he needed to take him out.

“As Matt kept throwing, I could kinda see a grimace on his face,” Juricek said. “I wanted to see if he could prove himself as a pitcher and see how well he could battle through adversity. He came over to me after the inning and told me he was in pain and the only right thing I could do as a coach was take him out. He then went to the hospital a few days later and I was surprised to hear that he had a partial tear in his UCL I thought it was just a soreness.”

Pleiss got an MRI a week later and figured out he had a torn UCL. He then did not throw for the rest of the season, and only had a few occasional at bats. Although only playing a slim amount, Pleiss still showed up for every single game and supported his teammates.

It was not until a few weeks later Pleiss found out he needed surgery. July 23rd was the day that many baseball players dread. Pleiss had surgery that day and was not cleared to throw for four months.

Tommy John surgery is where they take part of the hamstring out of the leg and put it in place of the UCL in the elbow. The recovery clock is very long and requires a lot of physical therapy. The doctor told Pleiss that he would most likely not throw the same for at least a year and possibly more.

Pleiss is also a catcher which requires a lot of throwing. Pleiss is on track to be back to hitting by the beginning of the season, but will not be able to throw until the start of the summer season. Although he will be throwing and catching, getting back to throwing his top speed of 85 miles per hour will take a lot of time.

 

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