Chiles baseball hosts TOC Tournament of Champions

Chiles baseball coach Dick Steed has seen his fair share of injuries over his long career.

With baseball, that often revolves around arms, though he says that in the last 15 years he's seen more injuries develop as kids have specialized in the sport and played it year round.

It's why when Chiles hosts Wakulla, Godby, Bainbridge and Jacksonville Bishop Kenny this Friday through Sunday in the Timberwolves' annual summer-league TOC Tournament of Champions, Steed is excited to have a title sponsor that is as appropriate as they come.

For the past 35 years, Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic has helped innumerable athletes deal with sports injuries. Timberwolves rising junior Tommy Kinney is one of many. Kinney tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder last year and needed surgery in August 2014.

"Last summer I was throwing a lot and it hurt a lot, sharp pain," Kinney said. "I went to get an MRI and they found a tear. I was depressed and sad I had to take time off and have surgery. They said it would be a full year to be back to 100 percent, but that in 6-7 months I could get back and play."

Kinney worked with a variety of professionals at TOC, from doctors to physical therapists, all intent to get him back on the field. He was able to hit far earlier than he was able to throw. But along the way he had to do the rehabilitation necessary to even contemplate picking up a ball again.

"The doctors tried to get my range of motion back, and once that was done then I went to the physical therapist for strengthening of the shoulder," Kinney said. "It was an hour and a half a day, two times a week usually. They were very patient. My physical therapist was a great guy, very encouraging. He knew what it felt like because he had had the surgery twice, but he said it would be worth it once it was all finished.

"It was a long time to get back, but it was worth it. It doesn't hurt anymore when I throw."

Kinney finally picked up a ball four months ago.

"It was scary," Kinney recalled. "The first time I threw I thought I was going to hurt it again. Once I realized I couldn't hurt it again it was just about getting 'it' back. They said it could be stronger, but it could also get hurt again. It's just part of the risk."

Kinney was able to play the spring junior varsity season, mostly as a designated hitter. He even got to use his experience to pass along advice to Chiles senior Jake Taddeo, who spent his final season unable to throw as a result of a labrum tear. Taddeo, a TCC commit and first-team All-Big Bend player in 2014, had surgery two weeks ago.

Summer-league games go a long way for guys like Kinney, who are trying to make the varsity squad next year but are behind in terms of playing experience. There are plenty of others dealing with their own sorts of injuries, some which requires TOC's expertise.

"We're very fortunate to be in a city that has an organization like TOC," Steed. Said. "The trainers in the field are super. I have a good relationship with Jim Watson in particular. I call him whenever one of our guys needs something, and he gets right back to me and gets them in quick. The trainers, the docs, the PT people are awesome. It's a great company and we're lucky to have them."

About the Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic and its Foundation

For over 35 years, TOC has provided the highest quality orthopedic and sports medicine care in North Florida and South Georgia.  TOC staff include 22 physicians with more than 200 employees, including PA’s, ARNP’s, RN’s, Certified Athletic Trainers, Certified Orthotics and an extensive support team of medical and technical assistants.  TOC provides a comprehensive Sports Medicine Program, a Regional Concussion Center, MRI services, an Orthotics and Prosthetics Division, Physical Therapy and an Outpatient Surgery Center.