Noted Adventist Doctor “Revolutionized Sports Medicine,” Died Last Week
by Monte Sahlin
By Adventist Today News Team, March 10, 2014
Dr. Frank Jobe passed away last week at age 88. Both the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times published lengthy obituaries and a Major League spokesman wrote, "many of the moments we as baseball fans hold in our hearts and minds were made possible because [he] had the imagination, surgical skills and courage to do something no one thought possible."
Jobe developed the famed "Tommy John" surgery which prolonged or saved the careers of countless baseball players and changed baseball forever. At one point last season, 34 percent of Major League pitchers, 124 of 360 had undergone this surgery, according to data compiled by Will Carroll for Bleacher Report.
An Adventist church member, Jobe graduated from La Sierra College in 1949 and then was educated as a surgeon at the College of Medical Evangelists which later became Loma Linda University. Both institutions have honored him as an alumnus in recent years. His son, Meredith Jobe, is an attorney on the staff of Adventist Health, the denomination's health ministry on the west coast of the United States, and a member of the board at La Sierra University (LSU). His daughter-in-law, Melanie Jobe, is director of the Center for Student Academic Success at LSU and his grandson, Kevin, is also an alum.
Jobe changed the game of baseball when he performed the first ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery on the left elbow of a Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Tommy John on September 25, 1974. The medical procedure involves grafting a tendon into the elbow to replace a damaged ligament. It is named after the first patient who later took his baseball career to new heights, winning 164 games and continuing to play until he was 46.
Since that groundbreaking achievement, Jobe performed more than a thousand of these surgeries. He later developed another procedure, a shoulder reconstruction that was first used to save the career of Dodger great Orel Hershiser. He partnered with Dr. Robert Kerlan to found the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic which has offices in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Anaheim and Santa Monica.
Jobe attributed much of his success to what Adventist teachers helped him learn about life and character. "Those life lessons are probably more important than any book learning," Jobe said last year. "They showed me how to live, how to be nice to people, how to take care of people. La Sierra University has such a treasure in its faculty. I hope it's never lost."
The Los Angeles Times obituary can be found online at: www.latimes.com/obituaries/la-me-frank-jobe-20140307,0,7968857.story
The New York Times obituary is online at: www.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/sports/baseball/dr-frank-jobe-who-pioneered-tommy-john-surgery-dies-at-88.html
NBC Television News video coverage is on the Web at: www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/surgeon-frank-jobe-savior-major-league-pitchers-dies-88-n46646
La Sierra University Magazine featured Jobe with a cover story in its Summer 2013 edition.