Several viral videos showing an adult basketball star aggressively playing against young children have created controversy for a popular basketball camp held in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. 

The videos surfaced on social media in late July 2019 and involve Houston Rockets guard Russel Westbrook. According to CBS Sports news reports, the videos were taken at Westbrook’s ‘Why Not? Basketball Camp’ in Oklahoma City. Westbrook holds another version of the camp in Tulsa each year. They show the towering eight-time NBA All-Star player mercilessly blocking throws and taking the ball from young players during a practice session. At least one small child was knocked to the ground in the process. 

National Concern Over Youth Basketball Injuries

The Westbrook basketball camp videos have prompted criticism from some reporters, coaches, and players with the National Basketball Association (NBA). It has also raised concerns among parents of children who had previously attended the Tulsa camp and those signing up for the next session.  

They come at a time when youth sports injuries are already in the national spotlight. Just a week prior to when the basketball camp videos surfaced, ESPN Sports completed a two part series on the increase of orthopedic injuries among young basketball players. According to the report, children as young as ten are suffering potentially serious injuries as a result of overuse, sudden trauma, or strain. They are also increasingly more likely to undergo surgery to repair the damages. There are concerns about both the physical impacts and emotional stress these injuries cause young players and how it could impact their health in later years. 

Limiting the Likelihood and Impacts of Youth Sports Injuries

“Youth sports are extremely competitive today, with heavy demands put on players both during practices and games,” says Dr. Jason Sparks of Spine & Orthopedic Specialists Tulsa. “Parents, coaches, and school administrators all need to be vigilant in putting player safety first.” 

Young players need adequate training and warm up periods during practice. To protect against orthopedic injuries, teams should have the proper safety equipment and rules against overly aggressive play. “Parents should make an effort to meet all coaching staff and attend several practice sessions,’ advises Dr. Sparks. “If injuries do occur, the child needs to be removed from play immediately and provided with prompt medical care.” 

Contact Spine & Orthopedic Specialists to discuss your youth sports injury today.