By Jena Williams

This year, the NCAA celebrates 75 years of March Madness. Sudden-death rules apply as 64 colleges compete for 3 weeks to determine this year’s national champion. Adrenaline pumping, fans cheering, layups, 3 pointers, slam-dunks, and last-second game winning shots. Powerful moves and teamwork are needed to win the game.

These amazing athletes are in top physical condition. Their bodies are warmed up and cooled down and trained by professionals.

On the sidelines and in the locker room, team docs are armed with ice packs, ibuprofen, and other tools to keep players performing. Even in the best of conditions, with the best coaches, the best equipment and personalized medical care, a body can only handle so many jumps, so much wear and tear.

According to a study by Dr. Deitch and his colleagues, 19.3 injuries are sustained per 1,000 NBA athlete exposures. The lower extremity was the most commonly injured body area (65%), and lateral ankle sprain (13.7%) was the most common diagnosis.

The great players who manage to avoid major injuries in college may go on to play professionally for a few years, maybe even a decade. But eventually, their bodies will wear out; they will have to give up the game to the younger players.

So what does this have to do with truck drivers and warehouse workers? Well, just like basketball players, you often jump out of your cab and off your trailer. Some loaders will jump on and off 30 plus times a day.

I know, no one wants a lecture, or to be reminded that they are not invincible. But truth be told, if athletes who are in top physical condition with the best care, the best trainers and the best equipment get injured, why wouldn’t the average Joe or Jane who jumps all day also get injured?

How can you stay in the game for the long haul?

Drivers

  • Use 3 points of contact because it protects your body just like warming up and cooling down before a game.
  • Tell your employer when the cab or trailer steps are worn or damaged.

Employers

  • Ask workers if their equipment is working for them.
  • Develop a policy for reporting and maintaining worn cab or trailer steps.

Want to see how much force even a jump from the lowest step creates? Check out this simulation. You can put in your own weight and test different scenarios.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jump force simulation: http://www.keeptruckingsafe.org/game.html

Current NBA player injuries: http://columbusdispatch.sportsdirectinc.com/basketball/nba-injuries.aspx?page=/data/nba/injury/injuries.html