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What Are The Physical Effects On The Body From Playing Basketball?

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As a 36 year old picking up the sport after 4-5 years not playing, I'd say it depends on your age and your position.  As a youngster, the bruises and slight tweaks here and there seemed to heal quickly, but now they linger.  The knees hurt and I am not even sure why...they just do.  When you're young they hurt, but most of the time I seem to recall the incident or the awkward collision that caused it.  With "maturity" the pains just seem to appear.

Obviously, typical injuries - regardless of age -  include ankle sprains, jammed fingers, knee issues, the odd pulled muscle, and worse, maybe a lost tooth or black eye from some 6'8 post with pointy elbows.  For the most part, if you're playing with decent players, the injuries are almost an expected part of the game.  If you play with guys who don't the game, especially hockey players it seems, them you got to watch for knee on knee fouls, undercutting on layups, and lots of flailing body parts, whether they're on offense or defense.

About position, post players may not get up and down as quickly, especially as they age, but they're also carrying more weight, which is very tough with a sport like bball that requires constant changes in levels and direction. 

For me, as a 6'0 PG who could dunk 15 years ago, my mind still remembers how I used to play the game, so it's tough playing (so far!) below the rim these days.  After a month of playing 3-4 times a week, however, I have gone from barely getting both hands on the backboard for power layups, to grazing rim on a layup tonight.  I have also gone from 190 lbs. To 180 this month, so maybe that helps too.

Overall, the effects on the body are numerous, but if you love the game and don't mind enduring the icing, stretching, and warming up that comes with playing 3-4 a week at age 36, then minor aches and pains are worth it, compared to the spiritual and emotional gains that come from putting a leather/rubber ball through an iron hoop.

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