Renowned American orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe has died, according to an official statement made by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. He had been hospitalized in Santa Monica shortly before his death due to an unnamed illness. Jobe was 88 years old and a team physician for the Dodgers for 50 seasons.
Dr. Jobe is credited for creating and developing the Tommy John surgery – a breakthrough in the field of surgery in which a tendon from any part of the body is transplanted to a damaged ulnar collateral ligament or UCL in the medial elbow. Dr. Jobe performed this procedure for the first time in 1974 on major league pitcher Tommy John; hence the name.
RIP to Dr. Frank Jobe who was the first person to successfully perform what is now called Tommy John Surgery. pic.twitter.com/iomTJdI54j
— Baseball Report (@NickHamelinMLB) March 7, 2014
Prior to the surgery, athletes who suffered from a ruptured UCL had no means of repairing it, but the Tommy John surgery completely changed that. Tommy John spent an entire year recovering from the surgery and went on to win 164 games in a span of 14 years afterwards.
Not only did Dr. Jobe invent the Tommy John surgery, but he also refined it and trained numerous orthopedic surgeons. It is now one of the most common baseball-related surgical procedures among collegiate and professional athletes.
Before joining the Dodgers medical team, Dr. Jobe was a consultant and active practitioner at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic, which specializes in sports medicine. He was team physician for 40 years before being appointed as special advisor to the chairman of the Dodgers in 2008.
Dr. Jobe has been recommended to be a nominee in the National Baseball Hall of Fame even though he never played the game. An official campaign to have Dr. Jobe inducted into the Hall of Fame was launched in August 2012 and last year, the organization honored him informally in March 2013.
Apart from his massive contribution to sports medicine, Dr. Jobe also served in World War II as an army medic. He also wrote more than 100 medical publications and received Honorary Doctorates from Japan and the United States.
He was a great surgeon but a better person. Many pitchers owe their lives to Dr Frank Jobe. #letsdoitfoundation pic.twitter.com/UzRVk8Lzvw
— Tommy John (@TommyJohn288) March 7, 2014
Image via Twitter