And then, eight months after surgery, he was back on the field–not as a pitcher, but rather at first base. It was there he would test his arm for the first time.
“That first game, I was a little bit scared to throw as hard as I could, but I was able to go out and play,” he says. “I think it was maybe halfway through the season when I really realized that, yeah, I could make all the throws I had to make, when I knew was able to throw as hard as I could.”
That’s also when he realized he was going to be able to pitch again. In late May of this year, Almond took the mound for the very first time since since his surgery, throwing against live hitters from his local high school. Then, just over a month later he threw his first official game at Erskine.
Nearly a year and a half after that awful “tightening up” took baseball away from him, Almond was back where he wanted to be–the pitcher’s mound–and doing what he loves best: battling batters.
“I felt great. My arm felt great,” he says. “I threw 34 pitches in three innings, and had a quick first two innings, and in the end, it wasn’t my arm that got tired. It was my legs. I just hadn’t pitched in so long, and my legs couldn’t hang in there, but I felt I could have thrown out of a chair all day.”
Simply, Almond’s recovery has been a complete one. And Dr. Greer couldn’t be happier for–or more impressed by–his client.
“He feels that he is 100 percent and I think that is remarkable,” he says. “Tommy John surgery is a daunting endeavor for both the physician and, more importantly, for the patient or athlete.
“It requires extensive physical therapy and dedication of the athlete afterward, and Levi certainly displayed his will to continue to try to play baseball. His being 100 percent is just as much attributable to his effort as it is to our surgery. These types of success stories are very important for physicians and our entire team – it’s what keeps us coming back to work.”