December 04, 2017
1 min read

NBA athletes who played in multiple high school sports had fewer injuries, longer careers

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A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that National Basketball Association players who participated in multiple sports in high school, compared with those who participated in a single sport, had participated in more games, had fewer major injuries and had longer careers.

Nirav K. Pandya

“The results of this study demonstrate that single-sport specialization can have potentially negative consequences on the injury risk and career longevity of even the most elite athletes; relaying an important message to coaches, parents and athletes involved in youth sports,” Nirav K. Pandya, MD, department of orthopaedic surgery, University of California, San Francisco, said in an interview with

Pandya and colleagues identified 237 first-round draft picks in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 2008 to 2015, of whom 36 were multisport athletes and 201 were single-sport athletes during high school. Data collected from publically available records included participation in high school sports, major injuries sustained while in the NBA, percentage of games played in the NBA and whether the athlete was still active in the NBA.

Results showed that athletes involved in multiple sports compared with those involved in a single sport played a statistically significantly greater percentage of total games. Investigators noted multisport athletes vs. single-sport athletes were less likely to sustain a major injury throughout their career. There was a greater number of athletes who participated in multiple sports who were active in the league during time of data acquisition, which demonstrated their increased lastingness in the NBA. – by Monica Jaramillo


Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.