Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No Lo(go) Contendere

Today, I learned that the NCAA has pleaded "No Lo(go) Contendere" to the claims that the too slick NCAA Logos placed on the floors during the first two rounds of the this year's tournament could/would lead to player injury.

Kudos to the NCAA for responding to the concerns of coaches, players, and fans. Their decision to pull the Logos from the arena floors for the rest of the tournament was the right thing to do.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Slippery Logo = Unsafe Court

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first and second rounds of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament at the RBC Center in Raleigh, NC this past weekend.
But while it was great to see the teams competing, it was disturbing to see several players slipping and falling when they tried to change direction or accelerate on the midcourt area that was covered by the largest NCAA logo I have ever seen.
I can't argue with the need to publicize the NCAA and its tournament, but when the logos applied to the court surface start to pose a hazard to the players, then it's time to re-evaluate their use. Keep using them, and you run the risk of a serious injury to one or more athletes.
I hope that the NCAA seriously considers removing these types of logos from the floor for the remainder of the tournament. The players safety should come before the need to have yet another reminder that we're watching an NCAA tournament game.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Work = Play (Better)

Watching Danny Green dunk, score and defend during the latest installment of the UNC-Duke men's basketball rivalry, I couldn't help but think back to a summer morning, almost 2 years ago.

I was observing a mid-morning summertime workout run for a few UNC basketball players, including Danny(pictured above).

While most UNC students were away on summer break (or sleeping in at home) that day, he and others were down in the depths of the Dean Smith Center, completing what was then a daily series of sprints, agility drills, and weight lifting. Day in and day out, they would come in ths morning to increase their strength, stamina, and fitness. They would then come back in the afternoon and evening to work on their skills.

I remember thinking to myself that this is what it takes to be a great basketball player... not just the gifts of size and ability, not just practicing on the court, but the constant dedication to improve yourself.

Remember That - Becoming the best basketball player you can be takes time and effort. Daily care of your body (sleeping and eating right), making the time to work out off the court (and recover from it) and learning new skills and knowledge on the court all combine to make you a better and more valuable teammate.

So, as the weather gets warmer, and you start to think about how you'll be spending your time off from school, take a few moments.
Think about what you want to accomplish.
Think about how you can get there.
Then make the decision to put in the work it will take.

Regardless of how his team does in the upcoming ACC and NCAA tournaments, Danny Green and his teammates will be spending their upcoming Summer mornings in the Smith Center, working out, and getting ready for the next season.

Where will you be?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Don't Get Stressed Out

Jason Sipes for the Altoona Mirror

In their recent article in the journal Current Opinion in Pediatrics , doctors from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York wrote about lower extremity (leg) stress fractures in young athletes. These fractures occur when a young athlete's bones can't keep up with their increased activity level and stress.

Here are some take-away messages from their article:

  1. Stres fractures are one of the most common overuse injuries in young athletes.
  2. As young athletes play more(more practices, games, tournaments, camps) of the same sport (stressing the same muscles and bones in the same way) with less time to rest and recover, stress fractures are more likely to occur.
  3. Stress fractures of the tibia (lower leg) and foot are more common in sports involving sudden stops (like basketball).
  4. The most well-established risk factor for stress fracture is a sudden increase in training intensity.
  5. Other risk factors include uneven leg length, abnormal knee alignment, stiff knee movements, and abnormal foot bones or alignment.

So What's a Young Basketball Player to Do?

Here are some general recommendations (in no particular order of importance)

  • Wear well-padded and appropriately sized basketball shoes when you practice or play.

  • When/if possible, get off the concrete and play on some well-supported wooden gym floors.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight for your height (too-thin girls with low lean body mass and decreased bone mineral density are at increased risk for stress fractures).

  • Avoid drinking diet sodas (the phosphoric acid can weaken your bones).

  • REST! Give your bones (and body) enough time to recover from the microscopic injury they get when you play hard and long.

  • Listen to your body! If your knees, shins or feet start to ache, decrease the amount and/or intensity of your schedule to prevent things from getting worse.

  • If the pain does not go away with rest, see your doctor or sports medicine specialist. They may get an MRI to look for signs of early stress fracture(s).

  • REST ! Did I say that before? Yes, but it needs to be emphasized that this is the best treatment for stress fractures. It's better to treat this condition with "aggressive rest" early on than to let it progress to something that's going to keep you off the court for months to come.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

High Contact Sport? Definitely

The lead article in this month's edition of Pediatrics In Review discusses how to manage sports injuries in the pediatric office.

On the second page of the article, the author lists common sports characterized by level of contact. The High-Contact Sports are:
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Martial Arts
  • Rugby

Medium-contact sports include baseball, fencing, cheerleading, skiing, and volleyball while Noncontact sports include running, swimming, tennis, and weight training.

If any of you still think of basketball as primarily a finesse sport, now is the time to join the rest of us in the 21st century.

The physical nature of the game, for both genders and at all levels, continues to increase. Basketball continues to be the sport that sends the most people to the emergency room. Please keep this in mind when you consider spending time on equipment or interventions for injury reduction and performance enhancement.