During Event 12 of the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games, competitors were challenged to establish a one-rep max snatch. During a 190-pound snatch attempt, Brooke Wells dropped the barbell after she suffered a visible elbow injury, fell to the platform, and audibly called for help. She was escorted off the field of play and did not return to the competition.
It was confirmed by CrossFit that Wells’s dislocated her elbow during that event. A few weeks after the completion of the Games, Wells took to her Instagram page to share an update on the state of her elbow. She will undergo Tommy John surgery to reconstruct her right elbow.
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Following the Games, Wells received an MRI, which revealed the following details of her injury:
- Complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) — which caused the dislocation of Wells’s elbow
- High-grade tear of the lateral collateral
- Flexor tendon was pulled off the bone
- No fracture or surface damage to the joint
Wells will undergo a “complete reconstructive surgery” colloquially known as Tommy John*. According to John Hopkins Medicine, Tommy John surgery is “commonly used to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament inside the elbow by replacing it with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. The goal of the surgery is to stabilize the elbow, reduce or eliminate pain and restore stability and range of motion.” The surgery is formally known as UCL reconstruction.
Wells did not share when the surgery is scheduled, but according to all the doctors who reviewed her injury, she expects to make a full recovery. She shared her anxiety regarding the injury but is “excited to finally get [her] elbow fixed.”
Before her injury, Wells racked up 787 points across the first 11 events at the 2021 Games. She finished in 20th place overall with 792 points after withdrawing from the competition. At the 2020 Games, she ranked fifth overall — the best finish of her career.
We will continue to update this article with more details about Wells’s surgery and recovery as they become available.
*The first Tommy John surgery was performed in 1974 by Frank Jobe, MD, on baseball pitcher Tommy John.
Featured image: @brookewellss on Instagram