Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, B.V.M., the Catholic nun who gained national fame during Loyola University Chicago’s remarkable Final Four run in the NCAA basketball tournament at the age of 98, is back in the headlines. The active team chaplain, known for her unique submarine-style pitch, celebrated her 104th birthday by throwing a ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field. However, her playful remark about having Tommy John surgery highlights the seriousness of the procedure.
The Procedure and Shohei Ohtani
Tommy John surgery, a reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow, was pioneered by Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon Frank Jobe in the 1970s. The procedure received its name from Tommy John, a former Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitcher who successfully underwent the surgery and continued his celebrated pitching career. Shohei Ohtani, the talented Japan-born pitcher and power hitter for the Los Angeles Angels, may soon face a second Tommy John surgery. Ohtani, who also plays in the same area as Sister Jean, knows firsthand the challenges of recovering from this surgical intervention.
Increase in Second Surgeries
Ohtani’s potential second Tommy John surgery is part of a growing trend among pitchers. Many players have recently required a second procedure after their initial surgery. Chicago Cubs pitcher Jameson Taillon, who has undergone Tommy John surgery twice, shared his experience and offered encouragement to fellow players facing this challenging journey. Taillon described how after his first surgery in 2014, he felt that he would never be the same again. However, following his second surgery five years later, he experienced a newfound strength in his arm.
Tommy John surgery, although named after Tommy John himself, is not a laughing matter. The procedure has become a crucial intervention for many pitchers like Shohei Ohtani, who face the prospect of undergoing it a second time. Sister Jean’s humorous remark reminds us of the significance and impact of this surgical procedure in the world of baseball.