The George Mason University baseball team is mourning the loss of student-athlete Sang Ho Baek. The 20-year-old freshman died unexpectedly from complications following a Tommy John elbow surgery, a common procedure for baseball pitchers.
“Sang was an incredible teammate who was loved by everyone associated with Mason baseball,” said Patriots head coach Bill Brown in a statement. “He will be missed and forever cherished in our hearts. Right now, our thoughts are with Sang’s family at the unbearably difficult time.”
Baek had recently completed his first season with the Patriots. He appeared in seven games, making his collegiate debut against UMBC on March 12. He picked up his first win against St. Bonaventure, just the third game of his career.
Prior to George Mason, Baek was a four-year member of the varsity baseball team at James M. Bennett High School and helped the Clippers to a 3A Maryland State Championship in 2019.
Our #MasonFamily mourns the loss of baseball student-athlete Sang Ho Baek.
Sang will be remembered for his positive attitude, determination and love for the game.
We extend our thoughts to Sang’s family, teammates, friends and all who knew him.
George Mason teammate Scott Morgan confirmed that Baek’s death was a result of the Tommy John surgery on a GoFundMe page created to assist the family with funeral expenses. In a single day, the page has already raised over $16,000 in donations.
Tommy John surgery is used to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament inside the elbow, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The procedure is becoming more common among young pitchers due to the stress pitching puts on the elbow.
Like most surgeries, there are risks of infection or issues related to anesthesia that come with Tommy John surgery. Typically though, it is a routine procedure with a high success rate after a lengthy rehabilitation process.
A service for Baek, a native of Salisbury, Maryland, is scheduled for June 26. He is survived by his parents and sister, as well as an extended family in Korea.
“Sang embodied everything you would want from a student-athlete,” George Mason Director of Athletics Brad Edwards said. “He was an excellent student, dedicated teammate and friend to so many. We are committed to providing support and resources to Sang’s teammates and all those in the Mason family who loved him.”
Contact Alyssa Hertel at [email protected] or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.
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