Dr. Ellis and other staff talking to participants of the Mavs Academy combine.

Oct 29, 2019 / Sports Medicine

Want to Know What the NBA and Scottish Rite Hospital Have in Common?

This weekend, at the third invitation-only Dallas Mavericks Youth Combine, the area’s top middle school basketball players and their parents heard one message over and over again – don’t specialize in one sport too soon.

Our team was excited to be there and happy to support this message. The evidence is piling up against early specialization including early burnout, quitting sports at a young age and less career playing time often directly associated with injuries. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Henry B. Ellis, M.D., was invited to provide an overview of injuries in basketball. He emphasized the importance of rest, at least three months from each organized sport every year. This interactive conversation with parents included these key messages:
  • Knee overuse injuries (Osgood Schlatter and Sinding Larsen Johansen) are more likely in this age group, particularly with basketball players. Proper knee range of motion and stretching can help.
  • Hip overuse injuries (femoral acetabular impingement) are progressive and should be evaluated to minimize the damage to soft tissues in the hip joint.
In response to questions about bracing and cryotherapy, Ellis reminded parents that there are no fast cures to something that is caused over time. Rest is necessary and the studies are starting to show that diversity in sports and taking breaks throughout the year, can place athletes at an advantage.

Greg Nared, Senior Vice President of Community Relations for the Dallas Mavericks, echoed this in his message to the players and the parents. Convinced that injuries can be avoided with proper rest and skill development, Nared encouraged parents to expose their children to other sports and non-basketball training. He and Ellis decided several years ago that they needed to work together to get this message and others about health and wellness to kids. Playing sports, including basketball, has many advantages and together they want to figure out how to get more involved to help keep kids playing longer.

In the combine event, Scottish Rite for Children staff participated by taking some measurements and offering feedback to the athletes about opportunities for improvement. Some suggestions included:
  • Stretch the ankle and heel cord to improve ankle flexibility. Rigidity at the ankle can cause excess demands on the knee.
  • Stretch the quadriceps (muscles in front of the thigh). Short muscles and repeated jumping and running can cause overuse injuries in the knee.
  • Learn proper squatting form. Poor movement with squatting will translate into poor movement with jumping and landing, leaving a knee vulnerable to significant injury.
This NBA-like combine experience was designed with the young athlete in mind. These young athletes are in the prime of their development and growth, putting them at risk of certain injuries. However, it also puts them in a perfect position to learn about protecting their bodies. 
Learn more about our partnership with the Dallas Mavericks. 

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