Bouncing back after a Tommy John

Daniel Villarreal returns to the field for a final comeback season

Dominic Companiott , Sports Editor

After starting varsity behind the plate since his freshman year, Villareal thought that his high school career was going to be one to remember. Though it would be one to remember, there’s a nightmare that started it all.
After coming off two sectional cham- pionships in 2016 and 2017, Villar- eal was feeling unstoppable behind the plate but didn’t see what was ahead. During the first practice of last sea- son(2018), Villareal snapped a throw down to second and blew his arm out in the process.
Blowing your arm out is a baseball player’s ultimate nightmare because it’s one of the hardest injuries to recover from and come back the same. When you have this bad of an arm injury, every baseball player knows that the first thing that pops into your mind is Tommy John surgery. Tommy John surgery is when a healthy tendon ex- tracted from an arm (or sometimes a leg) is used to replace an arm’s torn lig- ament. The healthy tendon is threaded through holes drilled into the bone above and below the elbow. Having this surgery at such a young age makes it even harder for recovery.
“The first thought after blowing my arm would have to be wondering if I
would ever be able to throw again or even play baseball again,” said Villar- eal. “I thought the injury would be to severe.” Danny has had a tough time with this injury because he had just come off two great seasons, freshman and sophomore year. Danny however is very determined to finish his baseball career on a positive note this year by helping the team reach there ultimate goal of a state championship.
After surgery, Danny became very motivated to return as he watched his team win a third sectional title (2018) but then lose a heartbreaker in region- als, to South Adams.
“It sucked not being able to be out there and help my team.”
Danny went through a lot of therapy in order to return. He also said that it was pretty much the most painful ex- perience he had ever went through. The therapy helped a lot but he said it was a lot of pain.
“Physical therapy was a key to getting better throughout the whole injury,” he said. “It feels good to throw again. I don’t throw as hard as I used to before the injury just yet, but with a little more throwing practice I’m sure I’ll be back where I was, if not stronger.”
Daniel also said that he can’t wait to get back on the field and is ready to win a State ring with the team.
His cautionary advice to younger players who may be at risk of undergo- ing a Tommy John surgery is to pay at- tention to pitch counts, use lots of ice and stretch a lot, and use treatment to
where it’s due. Danny was back in ac- tion for the first time behind the plate this past weekend at the Catholic Clas- sic tournament in Lafayette. He went 2-3 with 2 RBI’s and a walk. Dan said it felt great to be back in action.