Being the basketball junkie that I am, I was reading an article that was trying to explain why so many young, first round draft picks in last years draft where injured: 7 of the top 11 picks where injured and lost significant time during the season (if not the whole season!). But why?
Although the article was about young NBA players, the authors detailed 4 risk factors that all of our young athletes can learn from:
1. Sleep deprived teens: Not only do our schools start way too early for their natural wake/sleep cycle, our kids make it worse with “blue light” emission from devices,like phones, ipads, TV’s etc. right before bed. The exposure to blue light blocks the brains production of Melatonin that is responsible for making us drowsy at night. Athletes who sleep less than 8 hours per night are almost 2 x more likely to suffer an injury than counterparts who sleep > 8 hours per night.
2. Put down the Gatorade and pick up the Chocolate milk. Too many sugary drinks, not enough milk and calcium, leading to decrease in bone density. The lack of dairy often also leads to low levels of vitamin D.
3. Early specialization in sports, often year round players by the 5th grade, often leads to repetitive stress injuries.
4. Too much fluff in the weight room. I’m a HUGE advocate of the weight room for all of us, especially teenage athletes. Unfortunately, not many are going to lift and if they do, they are too heavy in to “core work” or “bands”. You need to lift and move heavy things, plain and simple, to help strengthen bone density, tendon strength, muscle size, ligaments, and to protect from injury. (Anyone seen Geoffrey lately???? Hello biceps, how you doin’)
Parents, good luck with adding more battles to our daily life, but the research is out there, Good luck!