At a Glance
Player: Brock Purdy
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Injury: UCL Sprain
Projected Recovery Time: 6 months
Brock Purdy had an incredible run as a rookie during this year’s football season. Unfortunately, this run was cut short after facing the Eagles in the NFC Championship. What’s even worse is that Purdy sustained a pretty serious elbow injury that is going to require time and rehab to return to play next season.
The UCL (ulnar collateral ligament) is a major stabilizer of the elbow. It limits the elbow when it is under valgus stresses, and it stabilizes during the throwing motion. UCL injuries are very common in throwers, and injury to the UCL, in which the UCL is completely torn, typically requires surgery (known as Tommy John surgery) as that stability is essential for throwing. With a UCL repair, recovery from surgery typically takes 6-9 months, depending on a person’s progress. If the UCL is not completely torn, conservative management is possible – however, with Purdy’s injury specifically, he is undergoing surgery, suggesting a complete tear of the UCL.
After surgery Purdy will without a doubt be working on building up both forearm and shoulder strength to better protect the UCL and stabilize the elbow, and efforts will eventually focus on that throwing motion and ensuring the UCL can withstand the stresses that throwing puts on it. Elbow range of motion will also be addressed, as full straightening and bending of the elbow can be lost, leading to difficulty with not only throwing but everyday tasks. Towards the end of rehab, there will be an emphasis on perturbation training to continue to promote stability and improve Purdy’s ability to react to unexpected movements during play. Purdy should be ready to return to play for the regular season – the question is, will he be QB1 for the Niners?
In this video, the 3DPT team demonstrates a few exercises that could be incorporated into a rehab program for a UCL sprain.
Early Stage: Forearm Pronation and Supination with kettlebell
Late Stage: Modified Chin Up off Barbell
Return to Sport: Repeated Medicine Ball Throws
Categorized as: 3DPT's NFL Injury Review