NBA players are energetic and talented people. Given the pressure and competitiveness in the league, they put in more effort to achieve great results.
But most people don’t know that some players have to deal with physical defects like scoliosis.
By definition, scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spinal cord. Though it can affect members of any age group, it is more pronounced at 10 – 15 years and is ten times more common in women than men.
You can tell someone has scoliosis if the spine is visually curved, leans on one side, and has uneven shoulders. While most cases of scoliosis can be congenital, some instances are neuromuscular and are brought by spinal cord trauma.
Now that you know a thing about scoliosis, let’s now look at some of the most famous NBA players who had to deal with the effects of scoliosis.
1. Tracy McGrady
Tracy Lamar McGrady Jr, known by his nickname T-Mac, is a former American professional basketball player famous for his National Basketball Association (NBA) career.
Though T-Mac achieved great success in his career, most people don’t know that he had scoliosis.
He received the devastating news from his doctors, who predicted that he would only play for 5 – 6 years because of his body structure.
He had congenital scoliosis, and to add some salt to the wound, he suffered a back injury while playing with Orlando in the fourth season.
He dedicated his off-season and in-season training his core back, and he exceeded the gloomy doctor’s predictions. He spent over ten years playing his favorite game – basketball.
2. McKayla Mooney
McKayla was passionate about sports while a young kid. She was competing for local basketball and had a vigorous exercise training routine. Little did she know that she was dealing with a medical condition that took her out of her favorite sports for some time.
While a healthy and normal spine has a 10-degree curvature or less, McKayla’s spine had a curvature of 56 degrees. That was a rare case and abnormal.
The doctor gave her a back brace, which she had to wear for 22 hours. She eventually switched to a more flexible brace she only wore at night. But her condition was worsening by the day, and there was a dire need for surgery.
The surgery was a success, and her spine straightened back to normal. After the surgery, she took a six-month break and later returned to where she belonged – the court.
3. Ja’Leah Williams
Ja’Leah fell in love with basketball while she was in middle school. But just when she started thinking of the possibility of making her fantasy a reality, the doctors informed her that she had a severe spine curvature (Scoliosis) with a 67-degree curve of the spine.
She had to undergo surgery, but she remained optimistic. She embarked on a five-month recovery, and when the doctors cleared her, she brought all her energy to the court.
4. Mikey Jacobsen
Mikey Jacobsen is another notable basketball player who had to go through the deep and scariest effects of scoliosis.
Jacobsen had a full curvature scoliosis that was diagnosed while he was in the sixth grade.
By the time he was in the 8th grade, his condition worsened, and his spine looked like an S with a 70-degree curvature.
He had to undergo surgery to straighten his spine, which was a success, and he found his way back to his game.
5. Keeshara Theus
Keeshara Theus, while she was only 17, had a painful back, and after every basketball game, she had a ritual of ice and massaging her aching back.
She was diagnosed with mild scoliosis, and therapy did not show any progression of her spine curvature.
She was in so much pain and couldn’t play again. She had a 58-degree curvature.
Her only hope was surgery, which was a success, and she later found her way back to the court.
Should You Play Basketball with Scoliosis
As seen, scoliosis is painful. Thus, sports participation may exaggerate the condition, which is not recommended.
Since basketball requires a lot of physical contact, a fall or a wrong move can worsen the condition, so it’s advisable to avoid playing basketball until it is corrected.