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MLB Spring Training Begins, Disabled Lists and Tommy John Surgery: What Players are Facing

Now that spring training has arrived, teams can assess themselves as a whole to figure out why so many injuries are occurring. Pitching injuries have been particularly cruel this past year, causing most MLB teams to have at least one pitcher on the disabled list. Tommy John surgery has been a main reason for the disabled list appearances due to pitchers needing to reconstruct their elbow ligaments. (Bleacher Report, Pre-Spring Training Injury Updates for MLB’s Top Recovering Stars: Bleacher Report, February 10, 2014).

LA Dodgers Chad Billingsley and Matt Harvey of the New York Mets recently underwent Tommy John surgery. Houston Astros pitcher Jesse Crain hopes to be back by spring training but it will depend on his recovery in the rehab program for his pitching arm.*

“Will Carroll, a sportswriter specializing in medical issues, conducted a study for Bleacher Report that found one-third of pitchers on Major League rosters on Opening Day this season had Tommy John surgery at some point. And the ever-rising tide of arm trouble has created the game’s greatest economic inefficiency. Carroll has estimated that in the decade from 2002-12, teams spent $1.7 billion on pitchers on the disabled list.” (New York Times, As Game Changes, Science Can Lengthen a Pitcher’s Career, August 27, 2013).

“With more and more players going on the disabled list, all of the guys should meet with their insurance agents to discuss their disability insurance options,” suggests Frank. N. Darras, insurance lawyer to the pros. “While no athlete wants to see himself on the disabled list or be a recipient of a career-ending injury, the increase in Major League Baseball injuries should have players worried. Whether you’re a pitcher or an outfielder, you should be prepared for any eventuality so that you receive benefits from a disability insurance policy to keep you and your family comfortable.”

Pitching arm injuries seem to be on the rise and many theories exist as to why this is happening. One particular theory postulates that pitchers are throwing harder than they did in the past. Coupled with speed, the types of pitches are also changing to keep the hitters on their toes. Others point out year-round youth baseball as another culprit. Pitching arms are under pressure starting at a young age. (New science, strategy may halt rate of arm injuries: MLB.com, September 13, 2013).

“Disability insurance helps protect against the unexpected. Baseball players are in need of individual coverage now, more than ever, especially if they want to keep their current standard of living. I encourage all athletes to find an expert to explain how own-occupation and disability insurance can help protect their income and their families in the event of a disabling injury,” says Darras.

*Source: Pre-Spring Training Injury Updates for MLB’s Top Recovering Stars: Bleacher Report, February 10, 2014

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