08:52 AM

What We've Learned

Sports Illustrated spotlights the work of John P. DiFiori, MD, FACSM, chief of Primary Sports Medicine at HSS and Director of Sports Medicine for the NBA, and others, in keeping the NBA safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and how sports have had to adjust and adapt to these times. 

Dr. DiFiori provided insight on what the past year was like for the NBA from a medical perspective. It’s more a sense of relief than triumph. Satisfaction through mitigation. So much progress from where things were a year ago, however Dr. DiFiori noted, “We were by no means experts.”

When the NBA emerged from the bubble, Dr. DiFiori and his counterparts had a trove of data, information that helped inform the guidelines for the bubble-less 2020–21 season. They learned that the bubble’s success came not just from affecting the behavior of the players, but from altering their own behavior to place an emphasis on communication. As for the science, Dr. DiFiori and others explained the more time that goes on, the more information that is gathered, the deeper and longer the data sets become.

The pandemic requires the public to recalibrate how canceled games are viewed. They aren’t signs of the sport failing, but signs of the preventative measures working. “We knew we were going to have positive cases moving forward, but how do we handle that?” cited Dr. DiFiori. “How do we prevent the campfire from becoming the forest fire?” he continued. “We're always, very, very conservative, very concerned that it could change at any time. [So if] player health and safety cannot be achieved, we're not playing.”

Read the full article at SI.com.

Additional coverage: Start Your Day With Sharon And Mike on March 22, 2021 at 8am.