Patient Stories

Stay in the Game: MLB Draft Prospect Back on the Mound, Thanks to Skilled Surgeon and Arthrex Innovation

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Since he was nine years old, Drew Beam has never doubted his passion for baseball or his commitment to pitching the perfect no-hitter in the major leagues.

“I have a competitive side, it's taken over my life and baseball gave me something I could always strive to be better at,” he said. I just fell in love with the game. It felt like I was home.”

That drive helped Drew excel as a pitcher through middle and high school in his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. When he signed on to play baseball at the University of Tennessee, it was a dream come true.

“I dearly love this game,” Drew said. “It brings me joy and happiness and it’s part of who I am.”

But then, a simple game of catch with a buddy led to an injury that threatened everything he had worked for his entire life.

“We were trying to throw as hard as we could and I felt a pop. It did not feel good and tingling went down my hand,” Drew said. “I took a few days off and tried again and felt another pop.”

That pop ended up being a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his elbow.

“When I got the call with the diagnosis, it broke me. I instantly went face down into the pillow and shed some tears,” Drew said. “I knew people end baseball careers with an injury like this.

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But then Drew met with Jeffrey R. Dugas, MD* (Birmingham, AL), at Andrews Sports Medicine, who helped him reclaim his hope for the future.

“Drew came to me with an acute injury, but with otherwise healthy tissue that was intact,” Dr. Dugas said. “I spoke to him and his family and they wanted me to make the call between a repair and a reconstruction. Reconstruction is the gold standard for an injury like this.”

Drew’s otherwise healthy tissue allowed Dr. Dugas to repair his UCL tear using the InternalBrace™ ligament augmentation system.

“In the right candidates this repair is very successful,” Dr. Dugas said. “For throwing or overhead athletes like baseball pitchers, gymnasts, volleyball and tennis players and even some football players, the InternalBrace system provides an augment to the ligament, so as it heals, the athlete has even more than they started with—the native ligament and the InternalBrace augmentation procedure on top of that.”¹

For Drew, the UCL repair meant sitting out for a season to heal and protect his future pitching career.

“Dr. Dugas said that it swept my feet out from under me, it knocked me down. But he picked me up quickly and said you will be back—and he was right,” Drew said.

Arthrex, Inc. Arthrex, Inc. Arthrex, Inc.


Drew jumped into rehab and was determined to get back on the field and the pitching mound in Tennessee orange. And he did just that—a remarkable one year and three days following surgery.

“My part takes less than an hour, then I turn into a coach,” Dr. Dugas said. “Drew did everything right in rehab and his prognosis is excellent. He is a generational talent. I am so proud of him as an athlete and a person.”

Today, Drew is pitching better than ever and has full confidence in his throwing arm and his sights set on pitching in the College World Series again and being a high draft pick in the 2024 MLB draft.

“The InternalBrace system allowed me to get back on the field a year sooner, than if I had to have a full elbow reconstruction,” Drew said. “It allowed me to showcase my talents again and return to who I am. To get to do what I love for a living, that is the dream.”



1. Walters BL, Cain EL, Emblom BA, Frantz JT, Dugas JR. Ulnar collateral ligament repair with internal brace augmentation: a novel UCL repair technique in the young adolescent athlete. Orthop J Sports Med. 2016;4(3 suppl):2325967116S00071

The InternalBrace™ surgical technique is intended only to augment the primary repair/reconstruction by expanding the area of tissue approximation during the healing period and is not intended as a replacement for the native ligament. The InternalBrace™ technique is for use during soft tissue-to-bone fixation procedures and is not cleared for bone-to-bone fixation.
This is not medical advice and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by a surgeon or other qualified medical professional on the use of these products. You should talk with your physician or health care provider for more information about your health condition and whether Arthrex products might be appropriate for you. The surgeon who performs any surgical procedure is responsible for determining and using the appropriate techniques for surgical procedures on each individual patient. Arthrex recommends that surgeons be trained on the use of any particular product before using it in surgery. A surgeon must always rely on their own professional medical judgment when deciding whether to use a particular product when treating a particular patient. A surgeon must always refer to the package insert, product label, and/or directions for use before using any Arthrex product. Postoperative management is patient-specific and dependent on the treating professional’s assessment. Individual results will vary and not all patients will experience the same postoperative activity level or outcomes. Products may not be available in all markets because product availability is subject to the regulatory approvals and medical practices in individual markets. Please contact Arthrex if you have questions about the availability of products in your area.
This real patient was compensated for the time he took to share his personal experience with his UCL reconstruction procedure.
*Physician is a paid consultant of Arthrex, Inc.