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Lucas Gilbreath on rehabbing from Tommy John and becoming a TikTok influencer

Colorado Rockies news and links for Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Coming off a 2022 that saw Lucas Gilbreath having a solid (if, at times, uneven) season, it’s safe to safe that 2023 has not been the season he was hoping for. Rather than heading to the Colorado Rockies’ bullpen to pitch in relief during games, Gilbreath instead found his season interrupted by Tommy John surgery.

However, he’s well into the recovery process — and making some TikTok inroads as well.

“The arm’s feeling good,” Gilbreath said, lifting a left arm supported by a heavy brace. “It has good movement, and the swelling is going down, so everything that’s going great so far.”

The rehab has been fairly standard.

“Right now it’s a lot of just mobilization still, so trying to get the full range of motion back first thing, and then I finally started, this week [on] the strengthening stuff — bands and light weights, and stuff, so it’s getting there slowly,” Gilbreath said.

In the meantime, he’s TikToking his way though his recovery as a way to familiarize others with the process.

Gilbreath first got into using social media on the recommendation of folks at Momentum, who encouraged him to pursue his social media muse.

“So eventually, we just decided, well, I’ll start trying to post stuff here and there,” Gilbreath said, “and then I got pretty locked into it — at one point, I started doing a lot of research.”

For models, he mostly looks to fellow baseball players, including Josh Hader, and baseball creators like King of JUCO and Robbie Rowland who TikToks about pitching development.

After that, Gilbreath set up his social media calendar.

“So the good kind of recipe I did in the offseason at least was two educational videos a week, two trendy videos, and then one on whatever I wanted.”

“The trend videos are what gets you followers and get you views,” Gilbreath explained. He is interested in health videos and creating TikToks for kids that feature mechanics. For Gilbreath, “Those [videos] give it a purpose in that sense.”

After his Tommy John surgery, Gilbreath began “documenting some of that and then figuring out the logistics of okay, what [to] do on a week-to-week basis.”

Oddly enough, finding content proved challenging early on because, it turns out, the early stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery aren’t terribly interesting.

“The hard thing so far is the first two weeks are super boring,” Gilbreath said. “Like, we basically go on and — [he looks over Sean Bouchard] what is it 15 minutes? — kind of move your arm, and then you’re done. So I can’t really even document that.”

But Gilbreath has moved into a new part of his rehab, which means new content.

“This week, there’ll be a lot more documenting. So I’ll probably start doing like a week-by-week video.”

So far, his social media strategy is working, and Gilbreath estimates he’s gained about 20,000 followers since. (Currently, he has 32.6K followers.)

Gilbreath’s decision to TikTok his way through rehab is a win for fans as they what goes into the process of recovering from this surgery.

In fact, Gilbreath dropped this TikTok to celebrate Opening Day and to continue his advocacy for shelter animals. (The Gilbreaths have adopted two shelter dogs.)

For every Rockies win, Gilbreath will donate $100 to local animals and animal shelters, and he’s urging fans to support his campaign by donating to @4Paws4LifeRescue.

Rockies fans hope he’s doing a lot of donating while he’s completing his rehab.

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