There have been a number of NBA injuries this season, including some that caused some star players to miss significant amounts of time. What is behind this apparent rise in NBA injuries, and how can we prevent youth basketball injuries that could result from the same causes?
Schedule changes to blame for NBA injuries?
In an effort to limit the wear and tear on players’ bodies, the league adjusted the schedule to decrease the frequency of back-to-back games and stretches of 4 games in 5 nights. The trade-off could have come in a shorter offseason. By starting the preseason a little earlier, spreading out the schedule to ease travel demands could have decreased the amount of rest players got during the summer.
Tips to prevent youth basketball injuries
What does this information mean for kids? We know that around half of basketball injuries kids suffer are related to overuse. Therefore, our efforts need to be focused on ways to cut down on the cumulative stresses to their bodies.
Take at least one season off each year.
Kids should not play basketball year round. At the minimum, they should take one season off to let their feet, ankles, legs and knees rest. If they want to play another sport that season, try to have them play one that stresses other parts of the body.
Decrease the potential for kids overtraining.
Don’t push kids to practice and play so much that they get hurt or burnout. Give them days off. Schedule occasional practices where you emphasize fun and not competition and winning.
Don’t push young basketball players to play through pain.
We can prevent youth basketball injuries, or at least a good percentage of them, if the kids didn’t play through pain. If they have sore knees or ankles, let them take a day or two off and see if it gets better. If they still hurt, have them see a doctor to find out what the problem is and start treatment before it becomes a more serious problem.