Don't Cut My Kid
Photo Credit Stan Grossfeld/Boston Globe

Photo Credit Stan Grossfeld/Boston Globe

The call came into my office in the dead of winter, at a time of year when baseball should only be looked forward to—not forced upon.

It had been the mom of a high school junior named Jared, a kid who stood a shot at having a future in baseball, something very few do. The only thing standing in his way? A torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow she was told required surgery—a surgery that also meant the inevitable possibility of ending Jared’s future before it began.

“Please… can you save my son’s arm?”

It wasn’t the first time a parent asked me that question, desperate to avoid what every doctor they spoke to previously claimed was unavoidable. But after looking at Jared’s arm, I told him his body could mend this. I described the process—and how the road ahead wouldn’t be easy. I told him that what I would ask him to do would seem unconventional at times, but it’s what his body needed to heal itself from within.

Jared committed himself to doing exactly what was asked of him. And about the time he would have been scheduled for surgery, Jared was back throwing again, making the playoffs at his high school just a few months later.

Jared wasn’t the first kid I saved from going under the knife—and he won’t be the last. But he was the one that reminded me that I couldn’t save all of them. That the best way to try the impossible was to educate parents about what ‘is’ possible. That a solution is needed to share with every young athlete in America. And not just the one I was lucky enough to repair and root for from the stands.

Right now, the injuries taking place in youth sports, particularly among high school athletes, now outnumber the professionals. These injuries go beyond jumper’s knee, Little League elbow, or any of the common aches and pains active kids sometimes experience. It’s now about significant damage to ligaments, tendons, and joints that require serious care—injuries from which many never come back.

What we’re looking at is an across-the-board, all-sport, injury epidemic, with kids today finding themselves needing medical intervention at younger and younger ages when surgery and rehab shouldn’t be words in their vocabulary—because times have changed.

Behind the scenes—and in most cases, right in front of our very eyes—our children are being put through a gauntlet of coaches, camps, and countless lessons unnecessarily. What was once meant to be played for a ‘season’ is now pushed 24/7, 365 days a year. All courtesy of, among other things:

  •  New ‘select teams’ that extend a child’s time playing the game
  • Coaches and parents who believe ‘more is better’ when it comes to practice
  • Indoor facilities and elite showcases that encourage kids to train during the off-season and even year-round.

Youth sports may be leaving our kids over trained and less developed, but the culture of America also plays a role in contributing to the health issues being seen in young athletes both male and female across all types of sports.

  • The American diet is leaving our children malnourished, overfed and improperly hydrated.
  • The American lifestyle is not only affecting our youth’s activity level and posture, but causing them to be less aware, overstimulated, and disconnected from certain vital physiological and neurological responses that promote healing.
  • The American dream has caused parents to believe that any child can become a superstar athlete. All it takes to make their dreams come true is to push them hard enough.

The bodies of many of today’s young athletes aren’t keeping up—they’re giving up. But I’m not giving up on your young athlete—and neither should you.

My name used to be associated to a legendary MLB pitcher—my Dad. But today, it’s more associated to a surgery (Tommy John Surgery), a procedure that’s performed on more 15 to 19-year old athletes than pro athletes. A procedure among many others that our children should not be having—and it’s time for this crisis to stop.

My mission is to return the name Tommy John to something positive again. So that one day, when you hear the name ‘Tommy John’, you’ll remember my Dad—and the son that revealed a set of principles that not only spared your child from injury, but allowed him or her to reach their greatest potential in life.


Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance

"We are too busy looking for the silver bullet--the single finger to put in the dam regarding the injury epidemics happening in youth sports today--that we are missing the fact the dam is overflowing.




With Master Degrees in Health and Exercise Science from Furman University, Dr. Tommy John brings over 17 years of health experience to the table. At completion of his studies Dr. Tommy played professional baseball for two years with teams such as the Schaumburg Flyers, Tyler Roughnecks and signed a free agent contract with the LA Dodgers where he was invited to spring training.  After his career was abruptly ended from a rare infection in his throwing shoulder, Dr. Tommy developed his own baseball performance company providing over 11,000 baseball training sessions for baseball enthusiasts from ages six to thirty. Additionally, he expanded his practice of personal training, sports performance training and rehabilitation of all types of soft tissue injuries. 

Dr. Tommy was drawn to chiropractic because he realized there was a higher element missing from the healing, performance process and proper function of the human body in the innate intelligence and the nervous system: brain, brain stem and spinal cord.  That paramount observation led him to obtain his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from Life University, (a 4-year program), in Marietta, Georgia, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. 

As the son of renowned Major League Baseball pitcher Tommy John who played in the Major Leagues for 26 seasons and was the first person to comeback in 1974 from the revolutionary surgery named the Tommy John Surgery, it is not surprising that Dr. Tommy developed a passion for proper healing and physical function as he witnessed firsthand the outcomes of injury, innovation and principled healing.

Dr. Tommy owns and operates Dr. Tommy John Performance and Healing Center in San Diego, California.  The primary goal there is to provide athletes and their entire families with integrative, individualized care plans and treatment to improve their quality of life by reducing physical and emotional pain from injury and aging and allow the greatest expression of life of every human athlete.

When Dr. Tommy isn't seeing patients at his performance and healing studio in San Diego, his passion lies in public speaking.  He has been featured at sports injury symposiums, medical conferences and for local high school and youth league organizations.  These speaking opportunities afford him the ability to enlighten and help thousands more athletes and their parents navigate youth sports safely and healthfully. 


Dr. Tommy John Is Not Alone


MLB legend Tommy Lasorda

“Tommy John was one of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever managed in my career. He never quit—and his son has that same spirit when it comes to protecting kids from what’s wrong in youth sports today. This book won’t quit on your kid—and may just save them from a surgery they shouldn’t need in the first place.”

Rick Barry, NBA Hall Of Famer

"Dr. Tommy John provides advice that every parent and coach for any sport needs to know so our youth can avoid injuries. A must read!"

Jason Kennedy, Host of E! News

“Tommy John is the doctor that may care more about your kids than their coach. This book isn’t just about sparing young athletes from unnecessary surgeries caused by specialized sports. It’s about saving time, saving money, and most importantly, saving kids from an industry that’s taking advantage of both parents and players alike.”

John Schaech, Actor and Author

“There comes a day when the dream you dream becomes that thing you do. Dr. Tommy John is exactly that, a former athlete that dreamed of the majors, but achieved through Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance something far greater. A book able to improve the health and well-being of every single young athlete that reads it.”

Ashley Koff RD, CEO, The Better Nutrition Program

"There's never been a more important time for this book, and no better book to address the needs of parents wanting to help their kids enjoy all that sports have to offer while minimizing the risk of long-term health issues. As a healthcare practitioner, I am exceptionally grateful to Dr. Tommy John because he makes the information easy to understand and the tips are so practical and so doable."

Randy Cross, 3X Super Bowl Champion and Football Analyst

“Parents are worried about their children being cut from the team, when they should be concerned about needless surgery and an epidemic of injury due to overuse. This book serves as a wakeup call for us all!”

7 Year PGA Tour veteran Cameron Percy

“I didn’t take up golf until l was 16, choosing instead to play cricket, soccer, Aussie rules, tennis and basketball. I never knew how fortunate I was to avoid being a single sport athlete until watching all of my friends—all of which started at a young age and were far better than me at the time—all burn out by the time they were 18. I lucked out, but worry about kids today that aren’t making the right choices that are presented in Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance.”

Charles Tillman, NFL veteran of the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers

“Being in the NFL for 13 straight years was no easy task emotionally, intellectually and physically, and working with Dr. Tommy John for most of my time in the sport helped me achieve a longer career. His approach from a healing and performance standpoint is oftentimes outside of the box, and some of the principles require consistency and grit, but he knows that’s what it takes to become the highest performing human athlete possible.”

Vida Blue, 6X All-Star, 3X World Series champion

“I owe my career—as so many successful professional athletes do—to playing as many sports as possible as a kid. The fact that specializing in just one sport has become the norm today shows how young athletes are taking the wrong path. If their goal is to excel and stay injury-free, this book will put them on the path every kid should be on—the right one!”

Hall of Fame Pitcher John Smoltz

“I played 21 years of professional ball, yet I would never have accomplished that achievement with the way youth sports lacks concern for athletes today. If ever there was a time when we need to step back and look at how youth sports are damaging our children, it is now. And not just now, but we need how: we need some solutions. And that’s what Dr. Tommy John has delivered. It’s not just a must-read, it’s how we save the games we love so much long-term.”

Certified Nutritional Therapist Craig Fear, (

"Finally, someone who gets it. As a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), it is so refreshing and long overdue to read about the role of traditional foods in preventing Tommy John surgery and other sports-related injuries. Very few doctors, specialists and coaches understand this. This book will enlighten the reader as to why proper diet is as much a part of the solution as more commonly understood reasons, such as poor mechanics and overtraining. An absolute must read, especially for parents of young athletes."

9x All-Star and World Series Champion Goose Gossage

“Science, technology, and the ‘business of youth sports’ are taking away from what baseball, and every sport for that matter, was built on. Now more than ever, we are overworking our kids and protecting the pros—all in the name of money. Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance finally reveals what all sports parents absolutely need to know—but may not be ready to hear—in order to be the best sports parent possible. But for those ready to listen, the sky is the limit for their son or daughter.”

Elizabeth Walling,

"This book should be in the hands of every parent who has a child playing sports! Dr. Tommy John calls out a serious problem. Time and time again, children's dreams are cut short due to avoidable injury. Dr. John lays out a comprehensive path that supports players through a balanced strategy of training and recovery techniques as well as nutrition. This information is invaluable for the future of all our young athletes!"

Long Snapper and Longest Tenured Player in Chicago Bears History, Patrick Mannelly

“When I was young, no one specialized in just ‘one’ sport because back then, it was about proving you could tackle as many sports as possible. I played everything as a kid, and didn’t stick with football until my junior year of high school before eventually going on to play for the NFL for 16 years. Who would have guessed that multi-sport mentality is one of the secrets to making it in the pros—and one of the lessons so many parents are choosing to ignore. Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance is the eye opener every sports parent needs to read, and I’m excited that Dr. Tommy John is finally sharing what he knows—with those that need to know.”


The Word Is Getting Out



Experts Warn of Rapid Rise In ‘Tommy John’ Surgeries Among Child Athletes

Dr. Tommy John Discusses New Book

Dr. Tommy John Discusses Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance

Why Tommy John Is Against The Surgery That Bears His Name

Dr. Tommy John Discusses New Book As A Solution To ALL Youth Sports Injury Epidemics

Dr. Tommy John Discusses Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance As A Solution To All Sports Injury Epidemics

Little League® Exclusive Interview: Dr. Tommy John

Living Your Best Life: Featuring An Interview With Dr. Tommy John On His New Book

5 Ways To Keep Your Little Athlete Healthy With Dr. Tommy John

Dr. Tommy John On Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu’s Rare Comeback From Two Arm Surgeries

Tommy John and Dr. Tommy John With Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette Discussing Youth Sports Injuries

Tommy John’s Son Wants To Help Kids Avoid Sports Surgeries Like The One Named For His Dad

How To Build A Healthy Roster: Addressing Pitchers’ Injuries One Small Movement At A Time

Dr. Tommy John Discusses The Importance Of Nutrition On The Performance And Healing Of Young Athletes

Playing Multiple Sports Reduces Injury Risk

Jeremy Frisch And Dr. Tommy John On High Performance Movement Training And Sport Coaching Integration

4 Questions Modern Sports Parents Must Ask Themselves By Dr. Tommy John

Dr. Tommy John Discusses Youth Sports Injury Epidemics And Solutions

Armed With Knowledge Part 1: A Conversation With Dr. Tommy John

Dynamic Injury Prevention And Movement Optimization With Dr. Tommy John

Avoiding The Injury Epidemic In Youth Sports with Dr. Tommy John

How To Prevent Tommy John Surgery Through Diet

Dr. Tommy John Covers Sports Nutrition And Why Kids Need More Bacon And Eggs

The Best Sports Books Of 2018

How To Minimize Injury & Maximize Performance With Dr. Tommy John

The High Cost Of Youth Sports: Featuring Dr. Tommy John

Dr. Tommy John Offering A Solution To All Sports Injuries

Dr. Tommy John Discusses Dangers Of Youths Getting Surgery His Father Made Famous

Dr. Tommy John Discusses Youth Sports Injuries

Specialization Is The Most Detrimental Thing For A Young Athlete With Dr. Tommy John

How To Minimize Injury And Maximize Performance Of Young Athletes With Author Dr. Tommy John

A Provocative Interview With Dr. Tommy John III

New Book Touches On Key Questions As Fall Prep Sports Begin

Dr. Tommy John, Minimize Injury-Maximize Performance

Rethinking Tommy John Surgery And Why Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance Leads The Conversation

Dr. Tommy John Talks About The Birth Of His New Book And Why He's "The Karate Kid"

Tommy John's Regimen A Model For Son's Plan For Healthier Young Athletes

Tommy John And Dr. Tommy John Discuss Injury Epidemics And A Solution

Finding Your Why Through Functional Healing With Dr. Tommy John

Dr. Tommy John: Healer and Author of Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance

Tommy John’s Son Wants To Help Kids Avoid Sports Surgeries Like The One Named For His Dad

Tommy John And Dr. Tommy John Talk Injuries And A Solution

Doctors Concerned Over Number Of Tommy John Surgeries In Teenage Athletes

Should Your Athlete Play Year Round Sports? The Case for Sports Sampling

TOO MUCH?: Tommy John’s Son Concerned About Number Of Surgeries For Teens

The Business Of Youth Baseball Doesn’t Have To Harm Our Children

Elbow Injuries - And Surgery - Affect High School Pitchers More Than Anyone Else

Kids and Money: The High Cost Of Youth Sports, Featuring Dr. Tommy John

Dr. Tommy John Talks Dodgers’ Corey Seager’s Recovery, UCL Surgeries In “Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance: A Sports Parent’s Survival Guide”

Sunday Special: Dr. Tommy John On Young Athletes: ‘Something Needs To Change’

Interview With Dr. Tommy John And His Dad On Their New Book-A Solution For All Sports Injury Epidemics

Teen Tommy John Surgeries, Youth Sports Injuries Reach Epidemic Proportions

Former Pitcher Tommy John On Youth Sports: 'When did injury and overuse become the norm?'

Dr. Tommy John on NPR Regarding Youth Sports Injuries Epidemics (Podcast)

Dr. Tommy John Warns Against Surgery That Saved Dad's MLB Career


Dr. Tommy John: “The Highest Risk Factor If You’re Going To Get Injured Or Not Is Early Specialization”

Steve Christilaw: What In The Name Of Tommy John Is Going On?

Dr. Tommy John Wants Parents To Find A Balance In Youth Sports

Son Of Legendary Pitcher Concerned About Rise Of Injuries In Youth Sports

Teen Tommy John Surgeries, Youth Injuries Reach Epidemic Proportions

Tommy John III Tries To Stem The Tide Of The Surgery Bearing His Father's Name

Tommy John Tries To Discourage Tommy John Surgeries

Teen Tommy John Surgeries, Youth Sports Injuries Reach Epidemic Proportions

Now Campaigning Against Tommy John Surgery: Tommy John

If There's A Cure For Avoiding Tommy John Surgery, Dr. Tommy John III Aims To Find One

Another Kind Of Tommy John Healing

Dr. Tommy John: These 4 Steps Can Help Prevent Youth Athlete Injuries

Injury Recovery Is A Flawed Process- An Interview With Dr. Tommy John

Don't Let Sports Ruin Your Kid's Life

Meet Dr. Tommy John III: The Man Who Wants To Save Your Child From An Epidemic

Dr. Tommy John And His Dad Talk Injuries And How To Avoid Them

Dr. Tommy John Wants To Return Joy To Youth Sports

Youth Sports: Keeping Your Kids Safe From Overuse, Long-Term Injuries

Dr. Tommy John Pitches Advice For Kids And Parents On Preventing Sports Injuries

Dr. Tommy John, ABC 7 Los Angeles, Discussing Sports Injury Epidemics

Dr. Tommy John on Maximizing Potential And Minimizing Injury

Dr. Tommy John (The Pitcher's Son) Has A Warning You Should Hear: Podcast

Dr. Tommy John Hopes Fewer Young Athletes Need Dad's Namesake Surgery

Tommy John Pitches His Surgery Story To New Generation With Specialist Son

Tommy John, Son To Baseball Parents: Wake Up

Broken From Baseball: The Rise In Youth Baseball Injuries

Tommy John Helping Tommy John Avoid Future Tommy Johns