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Lockout Fallout: Injury Warning To NBA Athletes

December 12, 2011

National Sports Medicine Expert Says Wounds May be Just Beginning

While the threat of an NBA lockout appears to be over, the wounds may just be beginning. A national sports medicine expert who published an article in a medical journal about the injury ramifications of lockouts, says that NBA players should learn from information analyzed after the NFL lockout.
  
A published report shows that Achilles tendon injuries to NFL players have quadrupled compared to past years.

“Extrapolate what we´ve seen in the NFL, and I could see in the NBA in the range of 2, 3, 4 times higher rates of injury,” said Timothy Hewett, PhD, Director of Research at The Ohio State University Medical Center´s Sports Medicine Department.  “This could be a historic event, where we start to think, ℠Is there a potential for really putting players at risk by these legal wranglings?´”

Dr. Hewett stresses that due to the lockout, players don´ t have access to the team´s trained sports medicine professionals who can help prevent and treat injuries.

“What this tells us is the preseason preparation – the weeks and months prior to the start of organized practice – are crucial for the health of these athletes,” Hewett said.

The Achilles is the tendon that stretches over your heel and injuries to that part of the body can not only be extremely painful, but terribly debilitating.  If surgery is required, recovery can take 6 to 8 months, often more. In fact, “in the NFL, a third or more of athletes who rupture their achilles tendon never play again,” said Hewett.  “And even those who do come back lose a full year of participation.”

This past summer a 130 day labor dispute delayed the start of NFL training camps, and that time off may have proved costly.  “Because these players were locked out, they did not have access to their professional sports medicine team,” said Hewett. “We really think, based on the data, that that had a huge impact on their readiness to compete.  The bottom line is, preparation for play is very important.”  

The NBA lockout lasted 149 days, longer than the NFL dispute.  Dr. Hewett warns basketball players to learn from the injuries suffered in the NFL and take measures to protect themselves against this serious injury.

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