SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

June 7, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Prep's Mackey not ready to give up on his dream

After two frustrating years, St. John’s Prep junior Brendan Mackey will have Tommy John surgery to correct the previously undiagnosed problem that has prevented him from pitching.

The southpaw from Danvers has been an all-star at every level, beginning in Little League where he led Danvers American to the District 15 finals in the Williamsport Tournament in 2009. He went on to play AAU ball for the Firebirds and later Legends.

Mackey started off his high school career with a terrific freshman season playing for coach Dan Letarte and received the Coaches Award. Things were going well for the young athlete who always dreamed about playing in college one day — and then misfortune struck the summer prior to his sophomore year.

“I was pitching for Legends in a tournament, and when I threw the ball I heard a loud snapping noise,” said Mackey, who will be a senior at St. John’s in the fall and carries a 4.2 GPA. “I knew right away something was wrong. It was such a loud noise that a kid in the other dugout heard it.

“It happened on a fastball and the ball went into the backstop. Initially I was unaware that you could break your arm pitching, but since then I have heard about a bunch of other kids having problems. I tried to come back a bunch of times, but each time I get real close it starts to hurt again.”

He was diagnosed with an Avulsion fracture, but a tear in the ligament was not detected.

Since the initial problem, Mackey has undergone MRI’s and been referred to three different doctors. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow last December and thought the problem had been solved. But just when he was ready to come back, the pain worsened.

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