Sunday, November 24, 2013

Why Derrick Rose will NEVER be healthy again

"They still don't get it."

So Derrick Rose suffered another knee injury Friday night which was later diagnosed as a torn medial meniscus, and social media blew up with shock and sadness and sympathy. And while basketball's Rome was set on fire, I sat quietly, looked at my television screen, and thought, "They still don't get it."

Derrick Rose has the potential to be one of the most unstoppable forces that basketball has ever known. Unfortunately, he will be relegated to a 30 for 30 special on ESPN years from now where a bunch of old farts will sit around and talk about how good he could have been if it wasn't for those "bad knees."

And it's the fault of the physical therapists, rehab specialists, and strength coaches.

Let's think about it rationally for a second. Derrick Rose has just come off of a two year hiatus due to a torn ACL. He plays for a few games and tears the medial meniscus in his other knee. And while people may say that the two injuries are unrelated, there is one glaring piece of evidence that suggests otherwise. Both incidents were non-contact injuries. Derrick Rose doesn't have an injury problem, he has a movement problem. And somehow this slipped by most of the people who were supposed to be taking care of him.

Physical therapy phenom Dr. Kelly Starrett (and many more competent PT's) frequently mentions that the vast majority of non-contact injuries are the direct result of poor movement quality. Not in the sense that he can't move; in fact Derrick Rose is arguably the most hyperathletic players in NBA history. But Derrick Rose clearly has a problem with moving well. It's one thing to walk outside and get hit by a truck, but when the most proprioceptively aware basketball player since Michael Jordan goes down without anyone touching him, you clearly have a big problem here. There is likely some sort of compensation, weakness, stiffness, or instability in his movement and that is what is getting him hurt. And as long as he still has those qualities, he will always be high risk for injury. Throw incredible speed, agility, and athleticism like he has on top of that dysfunction and you've got the injury riddled Derrick Rose.

The solution? Check his movement patterns via the Functional Movement Screen and the Selective Functional Movement Assessment. Let's see what his overhead deep squat and the other tests look like, and I have a sneaking suspicion that something will pop out that screams dysfunction.

So why is this on a fitness blog? Because it has extremely relevant application to those of us who are in the pursuit of fitness. Bottom line; if you are training on anything without paying any attention to your movement quality, you're setting yourself up for injury. Fitness isn't fitness if you can't take care of your body in the process. So stretch soft tissues. Mobilize joints. Improve stability and positioning. Spend time practicing good movement quality and reinforce that in your training or activities, and we can keep the limitations to your potential at a minimum.

"First move well, then move often." - Gray Cook