This two part series at ESPN is really interesting. This is just a feel:
“Through dozens of interviews over the past two years with NBA team and league officials, current and former players, AAU coaches, parents, youth players, researchers, medical and athletic training officials in and around the NBA, as well as those intimately involved with youth basketball, one possible answer repeatedly emerged: Players, they say, are physically broken down by the time they reach the NBA.”
Is the hyper-focus on making the NBA from a very young age creating medical problems? It certainly seems like it could be. Kids play basketball year-round now, and aren’t doing other physical activities that would help them develop well-balanced muscles, let alone resting and recovering. They are getting seriously injured at a very young age, in ways that you’d expect in athletes much older than they are.
As the article states about kids hyper-focused on tennis at a young age, having repetitive use injuries before you’re even a teenager isn’t normal.
Maybe it would be help them have longer careers if they actually did other things to take care of their bodies, but in the super competitive AAU and youth basketball circuit, I don’t see that happening.