The NBA, Brandon Roy and Water Training

Brandon Roy of the Portland Trail Blazers just retired due to ongoing knee problems. Given the stress that comes with years of running, jumping, twisting and sprinting, it is remarkable that more NBA stars do not suffer from the same fate, midway through or earlier in their careers.

In the case of Brandon Roy, did his problems come from a specific injury, a predisposition to such problems, years of wear and tear or some combination of all these potential causes? If it was a specific injury or genetic predisposition, then it seems that early retirement was his unfortunate fate as a basketball player. However, if it was years of wear and tear something might have been done to prevent this problem.

I remember back in the 1990's, when a well known coach took over a well known NBA franchise. At that time, the new conditioning coach for this team was quoted in the paper discussing his new program which would include plyometrics. After reading that article, I said out loud to all who would listen a conditioning coach is going to put this NBA team through plyometric training (essentially aggressive strengthening through jumping): "This is wrong and there will be lots of injuries." Sure enough, the team had more than its share of injuries that season.

In any case, while I cannot say for sure whether or not that specific training program caused a statistically significant spike in injuries for the team in question, I can say that over the last 20 years I have helped many people prepare for sport and recover from injury using water. I can also say that in the words of a well known and former NBA star, "everybody should be training in the water". He told me during one of our water workouts that he wished he had been doing water training earlier in his career as it would have "saved" his knees.

Without question, NBA teams should explore deep and shallow water exercise for training, conditioning and recovery workouts. In fact, in my experience over the last 20 years of using water as a training environment, I can say that every professional sports team should find a way to incorporate water based programs into their regular conditioning routines. They will reduce overuse injuries, prolong the careers of their athletes and with fewer injuries they might also save some money and win a few more games.

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