The mound was lonely and somewhat surreal for Hoosiers pitcher Kyle Hart. A Cincinnati native, the left handed pitcher felt a twinge in his dominant elbow while pitching against Ohio State. As a ball player, he was all too familiar with stories about incapacitating elbow and shoulder injuries. The pain Hart felt wasn’t debilitating or constant. In fact, he almost stayed in the game because his elbow stopped hurting. His stomach, however, began turning. Hart said that lead him to believe that his body knew something was wrong.
To get back on the mound, Hart turned to another Cincinnati native. Dr. Timothy Kremchek is a well known orthopedist and medical director for the Cincinnati Reds MLB team. Dr. Kremchek has performed thousands of UCL repairs, better known as “Tommy John” surgeries. He repaired Hart’s left elbow ligament, initiating a year-long road to recovery.
Hart has taken the mound again, and with impressive results. He still has some hard days, though. Hart commented that the hardest part of the entire process was when he couldn’t help his teammates. If they needed a left handed pitcher to match up against opponents, Hart couldn’t be there for them. That was the worst part.
As far as recovery goes, Hart is working harder off the field to prepare his body for taking the mound. Kyle Bunn, Indiana’s pitching coach, has made it his goal to ensure that Hart feels good each day. If he can feel good during the week, and then on the weekends, Bunn can have Hart pitch three, four, or five innings. The pitch counts can range from the 80’s to the low 90’s, but the objective is to keep Hart injury-free.
Head coach Chris Lemonis can’t say enough good things about his best pitcher. Lemonis wants his best guy to start in the upcoming NCAA tournament game, and he has no doubt that Kyle Hart, now a senior, will be first on the mound. After a pair of Big Ten regular season title, two tournament titles, three postseason appearances, and one Tommy John surgery, Hart will start on the mound for an NCAA tournament game.
To read more about Hart’s injury in April of 2014, or to find out more about his recovery, please click here to read the full story in the Indy Star.