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Belmar, NJ Baseball Player Back to the Game After Nerve Surgery

Trevor Morello Playing Baseball

Trevor Morello in action from the pitcher’s mound

Dr. Andrew Elkwood Performs Successful Nerve Surgery

Trevor Morello has played baseball his whole life. But when the 17-year-old was forced to stop due to unsolved shoulder pain, he says of his feeling, “I was lost.”

Trevor, a left-handed pitcher and veteran of Little League, began to experience the problem in 8th grade. He felt pain and weakness in his shoulder when he threw. He went to a series of doctors, who ordered physical therapy not once but twice, but nothing helped. An MRI, CT scan with contrast dye, and other tests did not reveal anything either. Trevor tried pitching sophomore year for his high school team, and had to be ‘shut down.’ Finally, yet another doctor, a specialist, told him, “You might not be able to pitch. Just live with it.”

Live with it, he did, and in desperation, even futilely tried to pitch right-handed. It was his trainer at Manasquan High School who suggested Trevor see a neurologist. That doctor wisely referred him to Dr. Andrew Elkwood. Elkwood, an international expert in nerve reconstruction surgery for patients who have lost the use of a limb from nerve damage, is also the founder and director of the Center for the Treatment of Paralysis and Reconstructive Nerve Surgery at Jersey Shore Medical Center.

Elkwood and his fellow surgeons at The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction treat patients who constantly hear the same refrain from other doctors: just live with it. But Elkwood knew what was wrong with Trevor. He related, “I gave Trevor a lidocaine injection into the suprascapular notch. It provided temporary relief, so we knew from where the problem was emanating.” After the injection, the young athlete tested the result by doing previously painful push-ups right on the spot in Elkwood’s office. He went home to test it further by throwing the ball around with his father, Joe. “I was energetic, hopeful,” said Trevor. “I knew I’d be fixed, and I am.”

Trevor Morello

On July 23, 2012, at the Jersey Shore Medical Center, Dr. Elkwood did the surgery. “We performed a release of the suprascapular nerve –the nerve that goes to some of the muscles of the rotator cuff.  It can become compressed by a congenital abnormality of a surrounding ligament. It is a very difficult diagnosis to make. At the time of surgery, we make a small incision over the shoulder blade, find the nerve and release it. We test the nerve for electrical function in the operating room.”

According to Trevor’s dad, Joe, “Dr. Elkwood was right on the money. We felt good about him, his confidence, and his ability. I don’t know if I can express how happy and relieved we are.” Joe Morello adds that his son’s recovery was amazingly quick, and simple.

Trevor plans to play baseball his senior year in high school and then enlist in the Air Force following graduation. Of his experience, Trevor remarks how much he appreciated Dr. Elkwood. “We were serious when we needed to be, but we also joked around. He made me feel comfortable, and the staff was also great.” Concludes the grateful pitcher, “Dr. Elkwood fixed me for baseball and for my future in the Air Force.”