Ticking time bombs. That was how Los Angeles Lakers head strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco described youth basketball players to ESPN.
Prior to working with the NBA Lakers, DeFrancesco served as a physical therapist at a Boston-based outpatient clinic. Here, he treated youth basketball players for serious hip, leg and back injuries, the type normally seen in adults and associated with years of working hard, physical labour jobs.
With the Lakers, he's witnessed elite pro propsects at the NBA Draft Combine lacking the muscular dexterity to perform simple exercises such as squats and lunges. The culprit for these wear and tear ailment, DeFrancesco came to discover, was year-round youth basketball.
Bodies are simply breaking down much earlier in life due to overuse in the repetitive moments caused by becoming a one-sport athlete at such a young age. And the price being paid is witnessed at the NBA level. In each of the past two seasons, games lost to injury have exceeded 5,000.
As Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, the Director of Sports Medicine Research and Education at Emory Healthcare in the Atlanta area and one of the leading researchers on youth sports put it, kids' bodies are broken from overuse by the time they reach college.
Read the entire ESPN story right here.