The Life & Education of a Surgical Intern…

The breaking point in a physician’s career, the time when they are all planning how to quit, takes place almost immediately upon completion of medical school. This very first year owning an MD diploma is dedicated to internship, and is make or break. For surgeons, the pinnacle grind of internship is the vascular surgery rotation. In 1996, I spent 4 mentally and physically exhausting months on vascular surgery. It was during that time that I first met David Cone.

As a vascular surgery intern, patient care began at 4 am with pre-rounds…


Did Bob Excel in Sports? The Answer May Surprise You…

Costas, a Long Islander through and through is the most respected broadcaster of his generation

It is well known that the legendary Bob Costas attended Commack High School South in the Long Island community. He is a celebrated alum. He is a proud Long Islander. With his 28 Emmys and eight National Sportscaster of the Year awards, Costas may be the most-respected broadcaster of his generation. Costas has worked the World Series, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, Olympics, Kentucky Derby, golf, boxing, hockey, and on and on. In December 2018, Costas was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Costas graduated from Commack well ahead…


Long Island STRONG

Watching the first pitch of the ALDS in Petco Park, San Diego

I write this from my hotel room balcony at the Park Hyatt in San Diego. The sun is rising and the warm dry air combines with a slight breeze for a perfect morning. Today marks Game 5 of the ALDS of the 2020 MLB Playoffs with the Yanks and Rays tied at 2 games apiece. The talk in the hotel is that this series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays will be determined by the team with superior mental strength.

Jordan Montgomery displayed exceptional mental strength last night in Game 4. It was the…


Every high school and collegiate baseball pitcher dreams of making it to the big leagues. Unfortunately for some, these dreams are knocked down by Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) injury.

My mission is to keep dreams alive. The largest proportion of TJ surgery I currently perform are in high school athletes. Second largest proportion is college athletes.

This past MLB amateur draft, I was thrilled that several patients I had the privilege of helping with TJ surgery were selected.


Shockingly, the greatest closer in baseball history didn’t put on a real baseball glove until he was sixteen years old

Mariano Rivera had a Routine

In the fourth inning of every game, he would recline on a training table in the Gene Monahan Training Room of Yankee Stadium and get an achy body part treated by Yankee athletic trainers. Some days it was his thumb muscles and other days it was his hip. During these treatments, I often sat with Mariano and chatted. Topics ranged from how to execute a cut fastball, the approach of opposing pitchers against our hitters, upcoming family events, even his childhood. No matter what the score, Mo was unpressured during these amazing conversations that took…


On April 21, 2007, the professional baseball season was well underway. I was not yet the Yankees doctor, but I was spending the morning with a retired Yankee player. Weeks earlier, I had invited my mentor, teacher, and inventor of Tommy John Surgery, Dr. Frank Jobe to our New York Orthopedic Hospital Alumni Biennial Meeting as a special guest. Our Biennial medical meeting is a gathering of the brightest orthopedic surgeons and alumni of our surgery training program. This year’s meeting was historic with Dr. Jobe scheduled to speak on Tommy John Surgery. Leading up to the meeting however, Dr…


UCL Primary Repair With Internal Brace

One of my biggest areas of interest in Tommy John surgery is to accelerate the healing time

Last week I performed a standard Tommy John surgery on a college pitcher. The Tommy John surgery took 45 minutes. The length of rehab will be much longer. To be more exact, it will take 12 months before he can be expected back in a game. Major leaguers take an even lengthier 14–16 months to return to a major league game.

For many athletes, the time for return is detrimental to their recruitment, their contract, their personal practice and development, and weighs heavily on their psyche. Some players choose not to have the surgery…


Different Presentations of a UCL Injury

Young pitchers are getting sidelined with UCL tears

Each year I break the news to several hundred athletes of all competitive levels that they have a UCL injury. The reaction by players and their families is remarkably variable. Some athletes receive the news in-stride and say “that’s what I was expecting to hear.” Those who were anticipating the bad injury news were often playing with pain, had researched their symptoms and had mentally prepared themselves for the possibility that their UCL is torn.

We have all witnessed the classic acute experience of Tommy John injury when a professional pitcher grabs his elbow…


I started researching how ligaments tear in the late 1980s. My undergraduate mechanical engineering degree from Columbia University provided me with tools to analyze the strength of materials from plastics to different metals. In 2001, I applied the same testing scheme to determine the exact strength of the elbow UCL. This required securing cadaver elbows in a special testing machine that applied precisely measured force to the elbow, replicating the force of throwing until the ligament ruptured. The results were concerning, predictable but still misunderstood. The UCL is remarkably fragile. …


Each spring, the Columbia University Varsity “C” Dinner celebrates the success and achievements of the 700+ CU athletes who grind in their sports and grind with the added responsibility of Columbia University’s huge academic demands.

2020 marks my 30th-year reunion and this spring I find myself reminiscing of my own experiencing at Varsity “C” Dinners. The soccer team always sat close to the lectern back then. Seniors took seats with the best view, and the freshman took the final empty seats. We were close enough to hear speakers directly and not through the PA system echoing to the back of…

Dr. Christopher Ahmad

Dr. Chris Ahmad is one of the world’s top orthopedic surgeons, head team physician for the New York Yankees & NYCFC, and author of the book SKILL.

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