When Juneau’s Bryce Swofford first tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) a little less than two years ago, doctors told him it should be able to heal on its own. But after two more tears and sidelined seasons with the same elbow ligament, the Juneau-Douglas High School baseball and basketball standout knew that wasn’t going to be the case.
Swofford, a redshirt freshman at Central Arizona College this year, underwent Tommy Johns surgery (also known as UCL reconstruction surgery) in October and is busy working himself back in shape. Swofford said he’s expected to be ready to pitch again this coming October, well in advance of the Vaqueros’ season opener in January.
Here, the 2017 JDHS graduate talks about what insights sitting out has given him and how much confidence he has in making a full recovery.
Juneau Empire: What’s the been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through this whole ordeal?
Bryce Swofford: I think by sitting out all this time, it’s definitely made me a better teammate, definitely taught me different ways to help my team without being on the field.
Empire: What’s been the hardest part of not being able to pitch for close to two years?
Swofford: Well, I’m pretty competitive and when our team loses and I think that I could’ve done something to help and knowing that my injury is stopping me from that, that’s probably been the hardest thing.”
Empire: How much confidence do you have now that you’ve had the surgery that in a year from now you’ll be able to make a full recovery?
Swofford: I’m pretty confident. I’ve seen some great therapists who’ve had some past with Tommy John surgery and recovery. I saw some guys that work with the (Rockies and the Cubs and I did some stuff with them. So they’ve definitely helped me out for my early months. Just my progression, I’ve been pain-free from throwing so far so hopefully this tail-end of my throwing program and rehab just continues to go smoothly.”
Empire: Where do you see yourself in a year from now?
Swofford: In a year from now, I hope to be just getting my name called in the (Major League Baseball) draft. The draft was last week so hopefully, that’s where I’ll be.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.