Bret Eirsh – UCL Repair w/ Internal Brace

As it is for most people that play the game for an extended period of time, baseball has been a tremendous part of my life ever since I was little. However, when I got injured, it was actually no surprise. For me, it started the same as it does for many others, when I started getting some pain in the forearm while throwing. Luckily I have an extraordinary athletic training staff at RPI and so I went in every day to attempt to get better. However, about a month or so later on a cold snowy day at Skidmore I spent multiple innings in the bullpen waiting for my opportunity to go in as relief, and after two hard fought innings I geared up for a fastball to try to finish a 12 pitch at bat…and pop! Luckily, it resulted in a fly-out to my shortstop, because I was already making my way to the dugout and calling over our athletic trainer. He started feeling my elbow and performing tests, but we both knew what just happened. It was a UCL tear

After getting an MRI, I already knew that I was going to go to Dr. Ahmad, who I’ve gone to before (for a cracked rib when I was 16) and who is commonly known as one of the best doctors around. I got lucky in that it tore in a “good spot” so to speak so I could undergo a UCL repair surgery instead of a full UCL reconstruction which reduced my recovery time from 12-14 months to about 8 months.

Heading into my freshman year of college baseball, I tore my ACL. This news was heartbreaking but every step of the way, Dr. Ahmad and his team always kept me in good spirits. I was able to make a full recovery from my surgery in about 9 months which is really good considering my patellar tendon procedure…

It was a long summer of recovery where I typically spent over 3 hours a day at RPI’s athletic facility between physical therapy and the weight room. I would also say it was a long summer for my strength coach and athletic trainer who often got annoyed with me for trying to do too much too fast and had to restrict me. Nonetheless I could not be more grateful towards those amazing guys.

I wanted to be another one of those stories online where a player got hurt and after receiving Tommy John Surgery came back throwing 10 MPH harder, although that unfortunately didn’t happen. Eventually, there was the first throw, the first time off a mound, the first breaking ball, the first time throwing with intent again, and finally the first time facing a batter (which I was a nervous wreck for!).

In the end, it was a long recovery but ultimately it’s worth it. It would’ve been the end of my baseball career had it not been for Dr. Ahmad and his level of skill to be able to perform a UCL repair and get me one final season during my senior year.

It is a very long journey and recovery but eventually, you get there!