In the eyes of the pitcher, Tommy John surgery normally marks a significant change in ones career - on any level - whether good or bad.
This week's KAKE Sports Athlete of the Week is a prime example of making the best out of a potentially bad situation.
"When you've played baseball since you were 4 years old and have to take a year off, you don't know what to do with yourself. It's very frustrating," says Kapaun Mt. Carmel junior Ben Lippold.
Early in his sophomore season, Lippold suffered an injury just as he was showing the most promise in his pitching. But the time off may have been a blessing in disguise, in more ways than one.
"There are a lot of other things in life other than baseball. I had to keep my grades up, I worked with my family a lot and kept my friendships up. Also on the diamond, it was my mechanics that caused my injury so I had to work on my mechanics and I changed a lot. I changed a lot as a ball player and changed a lot as a person," Lippold said.
Last Saturday, Lippold closed out the Crusaders' contest against Bishop Carroll in a 3-inning, 3-strikout performance to win 10-9. But as his pitching mojo returned to form, other areas of his game began to falter.
"I've got to start hitting. I've got to. And what's the way to get there other than just getting reps in the cages?" he said.
"I think that once he went through Tommy John surgery, he spent more time concentrating on his mechanics and trying to stay healthy. But he also worked hard in rehabbing, and in the weight room. And he's a lot stronger than he was," his coach Steve Lienhard says of his versatile junior.
Kapuan will take on Bishop Carroll again on Thursday, April 27th at 6:30 pm at Westurban.