Davis makes a comeback

For athletes, the thought of a season ending injury is disheartening and places fear that any game could be their last. However, for Los Medanos College pitcher Matt Davis, it was a minor setback for a major comeback.

Davis faced Ulnar nerve damage the summer before his junior year of high school and missed his entire junior season.

“I threw one pitch and I knew right away that something was wrong. I had a sharp and numbing pain in my elbow to my fingers,” said Davis.

The Ulnar nerve is a single nerve that arises from a group of nerves that runs down the inner aspect of the arm all the way down to the hand supplying sensation to the muscles of the forearm and hand.

After the injury, he sought opinions about what was wrong from various different doctors.

“When the injury happened doctors didn’t really know what was wrong so treatment started as just resting,” said Davis. “After a while it wasn’t improving so I went back to the doctors and it was decided I needed surgery.”

The news of surgery was hard to digest. Davis was upset over the injury and thought his baseball career would be over. However, this would not be the case.

With the support of his family, friends, and coaches, he went into Ulnar nerve relocation surgery April 2011. After surgery, Davis noted he was in a cast and sling for two weeks.

“After that I went to physical therapy for about three months. I was throwing a ball again two to three months after. All in all it took about seven to eight months after surgery,” said Davis.

He recalled that missing all of that time from baseball was like being lost in a forest saying, “I didn’t know what to do with myself. Baseball was all I knew so missing time was a big change for me.”

Once cleared, Davis was thrown right into physical therapy.

“Rehab was no joke. My physical therapist, Pam, was very tough on me and pushed me. It was tough, but I knew I had to push through it,” said Davis. “I did a lot of arm biking, lots of stretching, band work, and light weightlifting.”

Coaches were elated to have Davis back on the field. He noted that he thought the coaches appreciated how hard he worked to get back on the field and were relived to see him play again.

However, he wasn’t out of the woods just yet. He faced a relapse warming up for a Fall game before his senior season.
“My arm was in pain and I didn’t throw again for a month. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as the first time,” said Davis.

Even though he was able to get back on the hump on the baseball diamond, Davis knew something still didn’t feel right. The injury had affected his grip on his right hand due to the pinching nerve on his elbow.

“After the surgery I wasn’t throwing as hard as I was before,” said Davis. “After the surgery throwing over hand never really felt the same to me.”

Once at LMC after graduating high school, he discussed his injury with the coaches and found a new solution; try pitching sidearm.

Although the idea was out of his comfort zone, Davis decided to try it out and sure enough the suggestion shaped him into the pitcher he is today.

“It was hard at first but after I found the right arm slot, side arm felt good,” said Davis.

Looking back, he recalls that he threw harder overhand, but with tireless practice and effort, he has gotten better throwing side arm and says he is getting closer to throwing as hard.

Davis has recently ended his career at Los Medanos College after the baseball team made it to the first round of playoffs. In his sophomore season he ended with a 4.91 earned run average with 4 strikeouts and only 6 hits.

After his experience with the injury, he realizes that it is not a lesson unlearned.

“It was a dramatic experience at first but now that it’s behind me, I feel good about it. I’m lucky to have had everything turn out well,” said Davis. “I think I have grown as a person and a player from the whole injury process. It has made me a more patient person and I think it has made me appreciate things in life. Since I’ve been through all of this I try to help other guys so they don’t have to go through what I did.”

He notes that the game is what kept him going, along with the endless support he received from his mother.

“My mom without a doubt was my biggest supporter through the entire process,” said Davis. “I love this game, I want to keep playing for as long as I can. It has brought me great life lessons and knowledge. The game has also brought great friends I will have for a long time and I’m grateful the game has brought me that. I am hoping to keep playing at the four year level and whatever happens after, happens.”