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Basketball playoffs or benchwarmer blues?

Photo Courtesy: Tony Harman & CU Basketball
Photo Courtesy: Tony Harman & CU Basketball

It’s March Madness around the country, but for countless teams the mood has been dampened by injuries to key players. One of tomorrow’s match-up pits local favorite eighth seed CU Buffaloes vs. #9 Pittsburgh, and both teams are missing a key contributor.

CU will be without their star guard Spencer Dinwiddie due to his MCL tear in January, while University of Pittsburgh forward Durand Johnson will miss the tournament after tearing his ACL and meniscus. For many of the dancing 68 college basketball teams, the battle to the title isn’t just performing well in the tournament; it’s entering it healthy enough to survive.

The tournament also motivates many fans to play a little pick-up themselves as spring weather beckons them to parks and neighborhood courts. But basketball’s fast movement and sudden stopping are tough on joints. If you’ve been doing nothing but channel surfing all winter, make sure that you are giving your joints the proper training and care to keep you in the game instead all summer long.

Preparing your body includes strength training to develop muscles and protect your joints, the right equipment – from good, supportive shoes to protective gear (e.g. knee braces) – and a proper warm up and cool down. Proper stretching is essential. Among other things, STOP Sports Injuries recommends focusing on core strength and balance first, because a stable core promotes balance and, which is essential to controlling and stabilizing limbs.

Listening to your body is also a priority. At the first sign of pain, RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) and advice make a good game plan to keep you where you want to be – active and in the game!

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