A college baseball pitcher has died following complications from Tommy John surgery, according to a GoFundMe page organized by one of his teammates. Sang Ho Baek was 20 years old.
Baek, who had recently completed his freshman season at George Mason University, died on June 12, the university’s athletics department said.
“We are devastated by the passing of Sang,” George Mason baseball head coach Bill Brown said. “Sang was an incredible teammate who was loved by everyone associated with Mason baseball. He will be missed and forever cherished in our hearts. Right now, our thoughts are with Sang’s family at this unbearably difficult time.”
During his freshman season with George Mason, Baek appeared in seven games, with his collegiate debut coming on March 12. He planned to major in biology, according to his player bio.
“Sang embodied everything you would want from a student-athlete,” George Mason’s Director of Athletics Brad Edwards said. “He was an excellent student, dedicated teammate and friend to so many.”
A native of Salisbury, Md., Baek helped James M. Bennett High School win the 2019 3A Maryland State Championship.
The GoFundMe page for Baek had raised more than $16,000 as of Saturday morning.
Tommy John surgery is performed to reconstruct elbow ligaments, usually a result of a common sports injury from overusing the throwing arm. The surgery is named after left-handed pitcher Tommy John, who in 1974 became the first pro athlete to successfully undergo it. It uses tendons from elsewhere in the body to repair damage to the ulnar collateral ligament.