A severe arm injury can devastate a pitcher’s career. David Duncan, however, is one of the few who have rebounded to maximum form.
Duncan, a junior pitcher for the baseball team and a freshman walk-on, has risen in the ranks to become one of the team’s most valuable players. But the journey was difficult.
During his first year, Duncan sustained an arm injury that sidelined him for two years. He underwent Tommy John’s surgery, an operation that replaces the ulnar collateral ligament, which has extended the playing life of many baseball players.
“Coming back off of Tommy John surgery is not easy,” Duncan said. “It takes a lot of hard work. I was doing rehab two and three times a day, but this summer is when I really got back into swing of things.”
The operation never dissolved Duncan’s passion for baseball. He played during the summer and worked on his mechanics with his father, Stewart Duncan, who is head coach for Bradford High School’s baseball team. After daily practices, he regained confidence in his pitching.
“My parents raised me up to put God first and do everything with your whole heart, as you would it unto him,” Duncan said. “Not just by praise and worship, but by everything you do during the day – whether it’s school, life or baseball.”
Duncan, a third-year physical education student from Starke, Fla., received an athletic scholarship during his second year on the team. Head coach Willie Brown said Duncan’s performances have earned him that award. “Duncan is a good kid from a good family who understands the need to work hard on and off the field of play,” Brown said.
Duncan’s teammates said his tenacity makes him fit to lead the team. Since his return, Duncan has become a team captain and the No.1 pitcher on the team’s depth chart.
“Seeing Duncan from his freshman year, he has become an amazing pitcher and he has had to battle through some very intense injuries,” said Tim Jones, a FAMU graduate and former baseball team member. “His determination and work ethic have matured him into a very good baseball player.”
Brown said Duncan’s values transcend the baseball diamond. “The family values that he was taught at home allowed him to be successful in high school and in college,” Brown said. “He’ll continue to be successful long after his playing days are over because of those same values.”
In six starts during the 2012 season, Duncan has a 1-4 record with a 7.08 earned-run average. Opposing teams have a .266 batting average against him on the season.