July 8th was a big day in the NBA but not for the reason everyone will remember. Lost in the endless stream of emojis, hostage negotiations, and all the other shenanigans associated with the DeAndre Jordan saga, were several announcements that have the potential to improve the overall health of the NBA player and reduce the high number of NBA games lost to injury.
First the league’s announced that it has partnered with GE Healthcare in an effort to promote medical research intended to protect and progress the health of its players.
— NBA (@NBA) July 8, 2015
In the press release, the NBA announced Dr. John DiFiori will chair the new panel. Dr. DiFiori is currently the NBA director of sports medicine and a former president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. Led by Dr. Difori and five other doctors affiliated with NBA organizations, the committee hopes to improve player health by pinpointing risk factors and developing subsequent preventive plan options.
Additionally the announcement stats there will be a collaborative research effort with adidas, Nike, and Under Armour. Partnership amongst these three sports apparel giants is particularly important. According to the InStreetClothes.com injury database, 92% of the games lost to injury during the 2014-15 season occurred when players were wearing shoes produced by one of the three aforementioned companies and their subsidiaries.
As ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh and Yahoo Sports’ Eric Freeman pointed out, this isn’t the first time the NBA has formed a committee to look into player safety. The league has formed committees intended to examine concussions and other significant health concerns. However time and patience is essential for these types of moves to be effective and it would be unwise to expect any immediate schedule modifications or potential changes in protocol.
On the heels of the league’s announcement, Zach Lowe of Grantland.com revealed the NBA Player’s Union independently hired former Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic strength and conditioning coach Joe Rogowski as the director of physiology and research. Rogowski’s role remains unclear but he is a prominent player in sports medical research, particularly in athlete cardiac physiology.
More on health front: Sources say players union has hired Joe Rogowski, former Rockets strength coach, as dir. of physiology and research.
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 8, 2015
So what does it all mean?
It implies the NBA and its players know the best way to run a successful business is to have the best product on the floor. The NBA product suffers when Kevin Durant is sidelined with a Jones fracture or Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love miss the Finals with injuries of their own. The only way to do that is to insure the information provided by emerging technologies in sports medicine and bio-analytics is thoroughly and adequately examined and researched. As ESPN’s Baxter Holmes recently pointed out, the amount of risk associated with NBA players, particularly younger players, is also evolving and determining steps to reduce these new factors is a must. The odds of finding a way to do so significant increase with both the league front office and the players working toward improving the safety and overall wellness of the involved individuals.