Derek Parks, 18, proudly wears red, the school color of Adair County High School in his hometown of Novinger, Missouri. Since his freshman year, Derek was a starting pitcher for the school's Wildcats baseball team.
When Derek injured his pitching arm senior year, the thought of sitting out and missing the final season with his team seemed devastating.
"I've played baseball my entire life," Derek said. "I couldn't not play. It's a love I'll probably never lose."
At the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, Richard Ma, MD, evaluated Derek and recommended surgery for the labral tear in Derek's right shoulder. The injury prevented Derek from pitching without extreme pain. With the doctor's approval, Derek decided to postpone surgery until the baseball season ended. Returning to the pitcher's mound would require intensive physical therapy.
In March 2015, Derek began weekly appointments at Mizzou Therapy Services with physical therapist Lindsey Colbert, DPT.
During the final three months of his senior high school year, Derek woke at 5 a.m. once a week and drove approximately 150 miles to the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute in Columbia for physical therapy sessions. Lindsey led Derek through exercises and evaluations, assigning him a "homework" page detailing stretches and exercises that he completed daily at home.
"I'm extremely proud of Derek and all his progress he made since we first started seeing him for his shoulder in March," Lindsey said. "He worked really hard during therapy and improved his stability and ability to participate in baseball. Toward the end of the season, he could throw a decent number of innings without symptoms."
Not only was Derek back in the game, but he helped take the Wildcats to the district's championship game. He also represented his school's district in the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association's all-star game in June.
"The people at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute are just amazing," Derek said. "I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do. I would recommend them 100 percent."
Mizzou Pitching and Performance Clinic
A new clinic at MU Health Care offers baseball and softball players with arm and shoulder injuries evaluation and treatment recommendations by a physician and physical therapist in one visit.
The clinic is open to baseball and softball pitchers of any age, from healthy pitchers to those with arm and shoulder pain during pitching. The clinic combines existing services at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute into a single convenient appointment for an evaluation.
Patients will be evaluated by Aaron Gray, MD, sports medicine physician and a team physician for Mizzou Baseball, and Lindsey Colbert, DPT, physical therapist. Gray will perform a sports medicine exam to determine the patient's extent of injury. Colbert will lead the patient through physical tests to measure strength and joint stability and will conduct a video analysis of the patient's throwing mechanics. The specialists will meet together with the patient to determine a rehabilitation plan for the patient to recover and return to play at his or her full potential.
For more information about the pitching clinic or to schedule an appointment, please call the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute at 573-882-BONE (2663).