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American Association for Hand Surgery

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Return to Sport and Postoperative Performance in MLB Players Undergoing Wrist Arthroscopy
Michael O Cotton, MD1, Erin Orozco, BS1, Andrea Guloy, BS1, Robert A Jack, MD1 and Shari R. Liberman, MD2, (1)Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, (2)Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX

Background: Wrist injuries are common in sports and can result in prolonged time missed from playing. This study aimed to determine in Major League Baseball (MLB) players following arthroscopic wrist surgery the return-to-sport (RTS) rate, postoperative career length, and changes in performance compared to preoperative statistics and matched controls.
Methods: MLB players who underwent arthroscopic wrist surgery from 1990 to 2019 were identified. Demographic and performance data were collected for each player, and matched controls were identified. Comparisons were made via paired-samples student t-tests.
Results: Twenty-six players (27 surgeries) were identified. The average age of included players was 28.9±2.9 years with an average professional experience of 5.2±3.4 years. Eighty-four percent of players returned to sport, with an average RTS time of 5.0±2.7 months. A statistically significant (p<.05) decrease was seen in pre- and postoperative runs scored per season (95.6±91.3 vs 41.0±29.5), batting average (BA) (.270±.024 vs .240±.036), and average wins above replacement (WAR) (1.5±1.1 vs 0.8±0.9). A statistically significant decrease was observed in runs scored per season (95.6±91.3 vs 44.1±36.2), BA (0.270±0.020 vs 0.240±0.030), average defensive WAR (0.0±0.5 vs -0.1±0.4), and average offensive WAR (1.2±0.9 vs 0.9±0.9) for players whose operative hand was their dominant hand.
Conclusion: MLB players who underwent arthroscopic wrist surgery had a RTS rate of 84% at a mean time of 5.0 months. There was no significant difference in performance statistics between cases postoperatively and matched controls overall, with some differences in performance found when categorized by position. However, a significant decrease in performance among case players was observed between pre and postoperative performance, including runs per season, BA, and WAR.


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