Nov 12, 2021
Researchers Link NBA ACL Injuries to Driving Towards Hoop

For ages basketball coaches from youth leagues to the NBA preached that their players attack the rim and go for the highest percentage shot. Heck, the game even rewards this style of play — granting free throws to players who draw contact on their way to the hoop.

But what if driving to the basket for a vicious dunk or nifty lay-in caused more damage in the long run to a player’s most valuable commodity — their knees? A recent study from Stanford published last week found that the more often a professional basketball player drives towards the basket to score, the greater the risk of the front bandage being torn.

The results of the study, published in the November 5th edition of the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that NBA players with a high career of driving tendency experienced ACL tears of 5.2% compared with those with less driving tendency who experienced tearing of 3.8%.

“Our research showed that players not only perform as well as uninjured similar players after ACL reconstruction, but they also do so without having to reduce their driving,” said Dr. Blake Schultz, an orthopedic trauma researcher at the University of the University. Texas, who was a surgical resident of Stanford at the time of the study.

Dr. Geoffrey Abrams, an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford, an assistant physician at the San Francisco 49ers, also participated in the study.

“Our research provides players, teams, and nursing staff with information that individuals returning to elite-level competition after ACL reconstruction surgery are likely to make a full comeback,” Abrams said.

Shultz developed the idea for research three years ago when he helped treat patients with ACL injuries. He had patients asking him what they could expect after returning to the basketball court.

“They wanted to know if they could be just as explosive and drive the car,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what to tell them. Now I can say that you can go back to the same level of play and expect to be just as efficient when driving.

Using publicly available data collected primarily from online sources, including injury reports and press releases, investigators identified 97 NBA players who had had ACL tears since 1980. They left out athletes who played before 1980 because the three-point shot was introduced that same year, which changed significantly. statistics.

Of these 97 players, they won the number 50 for analysis: They ruled out players for reasons such as playing in another league after an injury or after a previous ACL rupture.

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Data on how often players drive to the basket has only been retained by the NBA since 2013, but researchers needed this data during the games of the previous three decades. To overcome this challenge, they collected 49 more traditional style-related statistics and then developed an algorithm that evaluates players’ driving styles based on these statistics.

The researchers developed a second algorithm to match each ACL-injured player with two other NBA players of the same age and style of play who had not violated their ACL values.

To read the full report from the Stanford Medical team, click here

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