NBA, NBPA, and NGBPU collaborate with GE HealthCare and MedStar Health on musculoskeletal and joint health study

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | May 14, 2024 Business Affairs
CHICAGO­­ and WASHINGTON, D.C. — May 13, 2024 — National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and the Next Gen Basketball Players Union (NBGPU) in collaboration with GE HealthCare and MedStar Health today announced the completion of the data collection phase of a longitudinal pilot study of NBA G League players. The research study was designed to collect data that could help promote player health and wellness and reduce injuries.

The largest assessment of training and game load on athletic performance across a full professional basketball season, the study monitored musculoskeletal and joint health of NBA G League players from four teams over the course of the 2023-24 campaign. The forthcoming study results aim to improve understandings of and help inform future best practices for playing, training, and recovery with focus on the structure and function of the knee joint – notably the patellar tendon.

The study performed prospective, longitudinal assessments on athletes by combining daily use of wearable technologies to provide consistent measures of game and training loads with serial biomechanical, kinematic, and force-producing assessments. Advanced imaging techniques used in the study included ultrasound shear wave elastography, MRI equipped with deep learning reconstruction, and image-based muscle analysis by Springbok Analytics. These assessments began during G League training camp in early November and concluded at the end of the G League season in March.

Ultrasound shear wave elastography is an advanced, quantitative method for analyzing functional changes in the patellar tendon, and when used to measure the stiffness of tissue in the patellar tendon, the method has the potential to identify risk factors or indicators of tendinopathy onset. To date, this will be the first time the method is used in a research study on elite professional basketball players.

Executive Quotes

Erin Angel, PhD, VP, Research & Scientific Affairs, GE Healthcare

“GE HealthCare is excited to team up with the NBA and the participating G League players on this pioneering study to improve how the musculoskeletal health of players is analyzed and measured with the hope to find innovations in how athletes can address their musculoskeletal and joint health concerns. As a leader and innovator in medical technology, we view this imaging study as important for learning more about the human body and how it reacts to physical activity, with the possibility of extending learnings to care for pro athletes, amateur athletes, and the non-sports world beyond.”

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