June 1, 2016

Getting the jump on basketball injuries

McCaig Institute researchers are studying ways to stop 'Jumper's Knee"
Carolyn Emery and Brent Edwards
Carolyn Emery and Brent Edwards Adrian Shellard

The clock is winding down and a player executes a perfect jump shot, sending the ball into the hoop and winning the game with seconds to spare. 

This familiar scene takes place in countless basketball games across North America.  But another all-too-familiar scene that spectators don’t see is the icing of knee and Achilles injuries that occurs after the game.

Two McCaig Institute researchers are looking at ways to prevent these injuries from occurring.


NBA concerned about 'Jumper’s Knee'

'Jumper’s Knee,' or patellar tendinopathy, is a highly prevalent overuse injury amongst recreational and competitive athletes that perform frequent jumps and landings.  In fact, these injuries are so common in basketball the National Basketball Association (NBA) recently partnered with General Electric Healthcare to fund research into tendon-related injuries.  Just six research proposals from North America, Europe and Australia, were funded, and two of the six were awarded to University of Calgary research teams within the Faculty of Kinesiology.

Brent Edwards and Carolyn Emery, both with academic appointments in the Faculty of Kinesiology and members of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, each received funding for their projects focusing on patellar and Achilles tendinopathies.

Wearable technology monitors tendons

Using advanced imaging techniques and biomechanical measurements to quantify tendon properties, Brent Edwards and colleagues, in collaboration with adidas and Robbins, Inc., will assess the influence of playing surfaces and footwear on the risk of patellar tendinopathy and develop a wearable technology to monitor tendon loading during play. These results will directly inform prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies for both competitive and recreational athletes. 

Can neuromuscular training help?

Carolyn Emery and her interdisciplinary research team aim to identify risk factors for patellar and Achilles tendon-related injuries in young players, explore injury surveillance methodologies, and assess the impact of a basketball-specific neuromuscular training program, all of which could have a long-term impact on young athletes and help them avoid premature exit from sport participation.

Brent Edwards, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, an assistant professor in the department of clinical neurosciences in the Cumming School of Medicine, and a member of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health.

Carolyn Emery, PT, PhD, is a professor and Co-Chair of the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology with a joint appointment with the Cumming School of Medicine, (departments of paediatrics and community health sciences). She's also a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute; the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, O’Brien Institute for Public Health and the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. She holds the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Rehabilitation.