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Combat’s Brown and McGraw on injury and recovery


By Scott Brown


Hello again readers of Let’s Play Softball, this is Scott Brown bringing you another article from the world of Combat slowpitch. This week I am bringing to you the injury and recovery process of Johnny McCraw from Team Combat.

As the 2006 World Softball League Home Run Champion and with a Major No. 5 Batting Average of .782, Jmac, as we call him, is no lightweight in the field. In 2007, Jmac was No. 3 Conference USSSA OBA Leader (.803) and No. 8 Conference USSSA HR FRQ Leader and an injury to a player at this level is common and something of interest to many.

A common injury for softball players is a rotator cuff injury or tear, and Johnny tore his right rotator cuff and also tore his left while playing in the 2007 season for Team Combat. In this article, Johnny talks about his rigorous rehabilitation process that he had to endure after surgery.

As most of you know Johnny is a player of high skill and success, so getting back to playing the game he loves as quickly as possible has been his main focus. He is an inspiration with his strength and determination to fellow Team Combat players and to other players with the same injury.


Johnny McCraw - In all sports, injuries occur everyday and they happen to even the best players, but it is part of the game we all love.  This past year, I tore my left rotator cuff swinging and tore the right one throwing, both requiring major reconstructive surgery to repair.

The surgeon who performed the repair is the orthopedic surgeon for the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Bobcats, so I knew I was in good hands.

In October 2007, I had surgery on the left shoulder and according to the surgeon, it was the worst rotator cuff repair he had encountered in his career and would require a minimum of eight months to recover. Five months later, in March 2008 while still recovering from my left rotator cuff surgery, I had surgery on the right shoulder, which would require a minimum of three months of recovery, as surgery on the right shoulder was not as extensive.

The rehabilitation process for both shoulders has been very lengthy and intensive and for the first six weeks after my first surgery, I wore an “L” shaped sling prior to rehabilitation to keep the tendons from retracting due to the complexity of the surgery.

For the second surgery, I was able to begin rehab one week after surgery. My rehabilitation consisted of three visits a week to my physiotherapist, each session lasting approximately two hours, which was very intense. The rehabilitation process was very grueling and painful and even today I am dealing with a lot of discomfort.

I love the sport and have worked hard to get back to the game, but I have been told that my shoulders will never get back to 100 percent and that due to the torque in my swing, that I would eventually tear my shoulders again. This is not very comforting for someone who plays as hard as I do, and wants to continue playing, but I have really pushed myself through therapy in an attempt to get back playing for Team Combat as soon as possible.

After going through this intensive surgery and rehabilitation process, I can tell you it takes a lot of heart and determination, and nothing is worse than trying to play hurt or to come back from an injury too soon. I know because I came back early and reinjured my right shoulder in early June, so my advice is to always give yourself time to completely heal and strengthen an injury before playing another game. So, back to rehab it is for me. This experience has taught me many things and at the top of the list is to be persistent and keep your focus on the game!


As a teammate, I can sympathize and learn from Johnny’s experience with his injury and the recovery process. His experience is a great story of determination and love for the game. Our game is one filled with highs and lows, and it is our ability to overcome such obstacles that help us to further our careers and get better at the game we all love.

All the best to Johnny in his recovery, and I look forward to having you back with Team Combat.