We couldn’t be happier.

Tom Lantzy, Patient

“We couldn’t be happier.” – Ann Lantzy, mother

Tom Lantzy’s affinity for baseball was evident early in life. He was recruited as a pitcher when he was just 9 years old for a travel baseball team. However, during Tom’s freshman year of high school, he began experiencing pain in his elbow early in the season. The pain reached the point where he could no longer pitch.

Tom went to the doctor in his hometown of Lansing. After MRIs and X-rays, Tom went through four months of physical therapy. It didn’t help. He then tried PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections. (This is done using a person’s own blood to help repair injured tendons, muscles or joints.) But that didn’t correct the problem either. Tom sought a second opinion and learned he had two options – it was either quit ball or have surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his elbow.

“Not playing ball was not an option,” said Tom, “So my dad called Dr. James Andrews, a nationally known sports medicine expert, in Alabama. He said Dr. Mark Sytsma of Bronson HealthCare Midwest Sports Medicine in Kalamazoo was the best in the area.” Based on that advice, Tom moved ahead quickly. He visited Dr. Sytsma who examined him and reviewed his MRI and X-rays to confirm his injury. After discussing his options, Tom and his parents decided to go ahead with surgery. “Dr. Sytsma gave off the vibe that he genuinely cared about fixing my elbow and getting me back in the game.” Tom had surgery on the morning of June 14, 2012, and went home that afternoon. Once out of the hospital, Tom had almost four months of rehabilitation ahead of him, which he did at Michigan State University since it was close to home. He was highly impressed with the post-surgery care plan and direction provided by Dr. Sytsma. He was also impressed with Dr. Sytsma’s responsiveness via email – he answered questions very promptly. “Dr. Sytsma cared and I didn’t get care like that from other doctors.”

After completing physical therapy, Tom was allowed to start his throwing program to get back into condition for baseball. “It was rough,” Tom described, “I felt like quitting sometimes, but knew if I stuck with it, I could pitch again.” Tom’s best advice to other athletes recovering from a sports injury: “Take your time and stick to your plan – it’s not worth rushing it.”

Eight months after Tom’s elbow surgery, he began his junior year of high school and pitched his first game. He received a standing ovation. He also went on to help his team win the Diamond Classic championship (photo above.) Now, Tom is attending Lansing Community College on a baseball scholarship. Ann Lantzy, Tom’s mother, couldn’t be happier about the care her son received and his ability to return to the sport he loves, “[Baseball] is Tom’s life – we were so fortunate to find Dr. Sytsma.”