Unsigned Senior Spotlight: OF Ben Bomberger

By Greg Williams
PA Director of Scouting

Embedded image permalinkFor most aspiring college baseball prospects a diagnosis of elbow problems and a subsequent Tommy John surgery would be enough to cause some real anxiety. Unsigned senior outfielder Ben Bomberger (Manheim Central HS), ranked No. 172 in the PA Class of 2014, is not "most" players however. While he dealt with the initial shock of the news and the fear of what the future may hold, Bomberger has been able to focus on rehabilitation and has kept his sense of humor.

The 5-foot-8, 150-pound right-handed hitter realized that something was not right heading into his junior season of high school baseball, but managed to fight through the pain while putting up very solid numbers. Bomberger hit .397, scored 28 runs, had 29 RBI, and showed some pop with 11 doubles and three home runs. 

Bomberger showcased an 84 mph arm from the outfield and went 2-for-6 with a triple during game action at the PA Top Prospect Games in June. A diagnosis of a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of his throwing elbow a short time later led to a tough decision. Bomberger opted to play travel baseball with the B2B Bombers through early August prior to having his surgery. The hardnosed senior spent the entire summer in the leadoff spot for the Bombers acting as a DH.

Bomberger had his surgery on August 30 and is on pace to return to the high school lineup this spring. He will initially be limited to a DH role, but could be back in the lineup defensively before the end of the season. Through the entire ordeal Bomberger has kept his focus on his return to the game he loves and his pursuit of playing college baseball. 

Following is a look at the procedure and the rehabilitation process as described by Bomberger in an interview with Prep Baseball Report.

The procedure

Displaying Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 3.30.34 PM.pngOn Saturday, September 28th I received Tommy John surgery on my throwing elbow. My Surgeon successfully took a tendon out of my wrist called my Palmaris Longus and used it to repair my damaged elbow. I am currently four months into my rehab. For the first two weeks after my surgery, I was stuck in a split (see photo above). Following the first two weeks, I was able to then move my elbow for the first time, but only a very small amount. I was in a brace which had blockers on it to stop my elbow from moving too far from or too close to my body for the next two months (See photo at right). Every two weeks, my doctor moved those blockers out further and further until I was able to move my elbow the full 180 degrees again.

Rehabilitation program

Ben BombergerDuring the two months that I was in the blocking brace I was able to start up my therapy at LOG (Lancaster Orthopedic Group). The first couple weeks, I was assigned to do nothing but flexion and extension training until I was able to get back to full extension. I am currently in my second month of strengthening and each workout gets progressively harder. On January 21st, I began the following throwing program.

Throwing Schedule
Stretch (5 minutes)
Warm up (10 minutes)
Throw at designated distance (25-35 throws)
Rest (5 minutes)
Throw at designated distance (25-35 throws)
Ice (10 Minutes)

The throwing program is designed so you have to go through each phase of distances. The distances are as follows: 45', 60', 90', 120' and 150'. I will have to complete the "throwing schedule" twice without pain at a designated distance before adding sets. When I am able to complete six sets at a given distance pain free I can move onto the next distance.

I am currently lifting with my lower body and my goal is to return to hitting by the middle of February. I plan to DH to begin the high school season and hope to be back playing defense by late this spring.

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