Matt Morrow reared back, looking for what he had hoped would be the best fastball he had thrown that March 8, 2020, game against State University of New York–Brockport. But as soon as he released the pitch, the University of Scranton righthander knew something wasn’t right.
“I felt a pulling sensation on the underside of my elbow,” the 22-year-old Bethlehem, Pa., native remembers. “It wasn’t painful, but I was hesitant to really let it go after that.”
Morrow would pitch 4 1/3 innings that day in what would end up a 6-1 victory. As part of his post-appearance routine, he would throw on the sideline the following day.
“I was just lobbing the ball 10-15 feet and I could really feel it,” he says. “It just continued to get worse after that.”
Scranton’s season was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic a few days later. Morrow looked at it as a blessing in disguise, figuring rest would take care of the issue. The elbow didn’t bother him doing normal activities. But when he tried to throw again that fall, the problem was still there.
“He came to me fearing he may need Tommy John surgery, which is replacing a torn ligament in the elbow,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network orthopedic surgeon Nicholas Slenker, MD, with Coordinated Health Allentown–1621 N. Cedar Crest Blvd. “Initially, it seemed more like a sprain than a tear. But an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) showed no structural damage, which certainly was good news.”