Dr. James Andrews Giveth and Taketh Away

Orthopedic Hall of Famer Dr. James Andrews has saved the careers of countless athletes with his special brand of ligament justice, but occasionally he makes an oops and cripples healthy people for the rest of their lives. No one's perfect.

Former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell is a blogging now and he has a cautionary tale for Mark Buehrle and anyone else who thinks they are indestructible. James Andrews can destroy you. Here's Jack's version of how his baseball career ended at the tender age of 31:

My pain was finally diagnosed as a pinching of what is called plica between the bones of my outer elbow. Plica is basically the sheath of fibrous material that holds your joints together while you are developing as a child. This is not an injury they had ever heard of and it was basically a fluke. But that wasn't the fluke that ended my career.

[...]

The other option was for Dr. James Andrews to surgically remove the plica that was effected. This option was described as one of the most basic and non-evasive surgeries a pitcher could have. They'd just go in and out, not mess with ligaments etc. When the outside skin was healed, the inside skin would be healed and I'd be back in 4 or 5 weeks.

Well to make a super long story significantly shorter, Dr. Andrews placed the scope in an area behind my elbow that severed and killed the nerve to the anconeus muscle of my elbow. I was 31 years old. The end. I tried to pitch without that muscle but the instability of my elbow would not allow me to stay out there consistently.

Wait, did Jack McDowell just say that James Andrews—inventor of the Tommy John surgery, sculptor of torn labrums, master of the arthroscope—accidentally destroyed his elbow during an otherwise routine procedure?

That's another complete book in itself. I'll get into that at another time. A lawsuit was pursued and never taken to court because nobody would testify against him...because he owns Health South, and they own everyone. Crazy shit.

Okayyyyy. Are you sure it didn't have anything to do with getting knocked the eff out in that bar fight with Eddie Vedder, because it would probably be much easier to sue him.

Mark Buehrle, the Hall Of Fame and the end of my career [Chicago Now]