Ryan Marino – Tommy John Surgery

From Setback to Success: My Journey with Baseball, Injury, and Recovery

During the pandemic, I devoted many hours each day to pitching. The return of baseball in April 2021 was a moment of immense joy for me. Like many kids my age—14 to 15-year-olds—I played for both a town team and a travel team. Despite keeping to pitch counts, my rapidly growing body experienced stress on my throwing arm, leading to a growth plate fracture. After taking time off and undergoing numerous sessions with physical therapists, my arm seemed ready to play again. I had a successful freshman season, highlighted by a highly competitive game where I struck out 15 batters.

A few months later, I traveled to Nashville for the much-anticipated Music City Classic. However, during warm-ups, something went wrong. While I could throw a fastball one moment, the next pitch would sail far from the plate, nearly five feet in the air. The opposing team’s coach, who happened to be a physical therapist, came to our dugout to examine my arm. He suggested getting imaging done as soon as possible.

Upon returning home, my doctor advised rest. I returned to playing as a third baseman eight weeks later without any issues until I attempted to pitch again in week nine. It was evident right away that something was still very wrong. Two years of diligently working to rehabilitate my arm—and the MRI revealed a completely detached UCL. It was devastating news.

I consulted with several surgeons in the Boston area and scheduled a telehealth appointment with Dr. Ahmad shortly after the MRI. The first surgeon’s bedside manner fell short of Expectations. The second suggested giving up baseball altogether. However, Dr. Ahmad was different—knowledgeable, approachable, and reassuring about my prospects of returning to the game. Additionally, he collaborated with a specialized physical therapy team in Boston focused on Tommy John recovery for baseball players.

Within two weeks, I traveled to New York City from Boston for surgery. Dr. Ahmad’s skilled hands and extensive knowledge in orthopedic surgery not only repaired my UCL but also addressed bone spurs and a snapping ulnar nerve, ensuring a comprehensive recovery.

The 50th anniversary of the invention of Tommy John Surgery serves as a poignant reminder of the strides that medical science has made in treating sports injuries. Dr. Ahmad’s dedication to advancing orthopedic techniques and his commitment to each patient’s well-being were evident in my successful return to pitching.

Today, as I step onto the field once again, I pitch with renewed vigor and feel healthier than ever. My journey began three years ago, but my determination to excel in baseball with renewed confidence is stronger than ever.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Ahmad, Frank, and the entire team for their unwavering dedication, expertise, and compassion. Their impact reaches far beyond the operating room, shaping the lives and dreams of young athletes like me. I am forever grateful to them and the entire team.