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95 Or Bust

My Athletic Journey Pt 3.

After the MRI’s confirmed my tears, scheduling surgery was the next step. My doctors recommended I get Tommy John first, and then three months later, when my arm had gained the strength to use crutches, get my hip labrum reconstructed. Dr. Leigh Anne Curl performed my Tommy John Surgery in June 2016. I was in a cast for 3-4 weeks. Then we got it moving. I returned back to Med Star for therapy with Steve Luca. My arm was legit bent at a 45 degree angle. We started the rehab process and cranking on my arm to get my elbow to full extension. (This was extremely painful and nearly tear jerking at times.) I had acquired a job working for a local chiropractor as a media specialist and a tech working with clients on rehab / treatment while in my TJ brace. During this time frame I started to purchase some cheap weights for our barn. I created an instagram account right after Tommy John to document my rehab called @StinarPitching In one of my first posts, I made a little video showing our shitty barn setup, and I typed the caption that I will throw 95mph one day here at this farm. I hashtagged #95orbust and sent it out there for the gram. (One year later this account turned into @thevelofarm and the rest is history.) 

At this time I did not have a car, and was driving an old beat up truck to work that I shared with my dad. I needed to lift weights, and get better. Physical therapy was going well, but I needed to do more. The barn was really my only option at the time. 3 months later, I was under the knife again for my hip surgery. This was on November 8th 2016. The procedure was a hip labral microfracture reconstruction, with CAM Lesion removal. The idea of the “microfracture” was to create little fractures in my bone to stimulate growth of new cartilage around in my joint. After the surgery, I was non weight bearing for 6 weeks. I had recently been fired from my Chiropractor office job due to a petty disagreement with the boss. Somehow the universe was looking out for me; and soon after, I got hired to run a throwing program at a local baseball training facility. I started running this program while I was on crutches & limping around that winter. 

The hip rehab was brutal. Way harder than I thought, and way harder than the TJ rehab. There was a point where I thought I fractured my forearm after a month of crutching around. The crutches were putting a lot of stress on my forearm and it was feeling pretty terrible. My body was trying to heal two things at once, and it was telling me to chill. I pulled back on the TJ Rehab, and let it calm down while I continued to crush my hip rehab. I reached out to Yoni Rosenblat and Bobby Esbrant at True Sport Physical Therapy. I began to do more intensive hip rehab. I was in the pool. Using the blood flow restriction with my exercises. I was running on the anti gravity treadmill. I had to relearn how to walk. Then to jog, then to run. I also began to work on training my mobility with one of my favorite people of all time Josh Halbert. I was doing everything I could for my hip. Hot tub, cold plunge, dry needling, red light, stim, ultrasound and more. 

We reached that spring, and I had run a successful throwing program, got my hip in a decent place, and was scheduled to have 2 cleanup procedures of my throwing shoulder. My throwing shoulder AC Joint was giving me some gnarly impingement, and my scapula was grinding on my ribcage again, just like my left was 2 years ago. I went back to Dr. Curl, and we got the surgery scheduled. We had a subscapular bursectomy, and a Distal Clavicle Excision planned to be done in the same procedure. I went in for surgery, and halfway through the surgery, my heart rate dropped to a dangerous rate, and they pulled the plug on the operation. I woke up after the anesthesia wore off, feeling absolutely terrible. 

The doctor came in after I woke up and it was basically like hey man your heart rate dropped super low. We had to stop the procedure. We got half of it done and you're gonna need to come back next week so we can finish it. So next week I went back and got my distal clavicle excision completed by Dr. Curl. That was pretty painful, and I remember having a lot of acute pain for a month after. Essentially they removed my AC Joint in my throwing shoulder, to alleviate the impingement, and allow scar tissue to grow back and act as a new connection between my clavicle and my acromion. (This surgery turned out to be a major L in the long term, which I will explain in further detail down the line.)

During the week of the these surgeries, I applied for an internship out at Driveline Baseball. Literally the day after I had the second half of the shoulder surgery, I got the phone call that I was hired as an intern at Driveline. I was going to be working under Kyle Boddy, and Taiki Green as a media production Intern. Ever since the first surgery I had in 2015, I had become obsessed with Driveline and now I was getting the opportunity of a lifetime to actually work for them. I decided to send it. I worked out a deal with them to train & rehab my injuries in the mornings, and then intern in the afternoons. I was stoked. I flew out to Driveline a few weeks later (March 2017) to begin my intern experience, and started my return to throwing program. I did my initial on boarding with Matt Daniels, who was very helpful. I stayed in a house with a bunch of other guys who were training there. It was a great experience. I began to throw again, starting my return to throwing program under the guidance of Matt and some of the other OG Driveline trainers.

A week after I moved in I had another guy move into my room with me. His name was Eric Alonzo, pro pitcher who had recently been released by the Angels. He was also a pitching coach back home in Georgia. Eric and I hit it off right away and became good friends. He was my ride to the facility pretty much every day. He was much more experienced than me, and had trained some big name arms in Georgia such as Ethan Hankins and Kumar Rocker. Zo and I were in a similar boat, and we both helped each other out with stuff. He was trying to get healthy and throw harder, while also planning the next phase of his training business at home. During our time out there, he gave me knowledge on the game / art of coaching. I also created his logo for his business called Full Count Baseball (which is now huge.) I’m very grateful for this time of my life. Meeting Zo, and getting to work / train at Driveline helped me in more ways than I knew at the time. During my stay at Driveline, my throwing was going well, but my hip was not responding well to anything. I started my running program, and I began to have more bad days than good days. Deep, excruciating pain in my hip again. Trouble sitting down at my work desk for longer than an hour. I knew something was not right. I talked to my superiors, and decided I needed to return home to see my doctors. 

Once I got home, I put all my chips into starting The Velo Farm. This was May 2017. I haven't looked back since. I had the feeling in my gut that I could do this. If I used my knowledge and experience, and helped kids get better at baseball, that people would come. And if I posted about it on the internet + built a brand around it, it would evolve into something that no one had seen before. Now that I am typing this 7 years later, it’s wild to think about the fact that I had no idea if it would work or not. I just decided this was what I was going to do. No backup plan. Full steam ahead on my gut & intuition. I would figure it out as I went. The story of the Velo Farm is a separate one that I will write more about in a later blog post. There is a lot to unpack there, and much more to share. Stay tuned.

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