To conclude NBA FIT Week 2017, the NBA and Kaiser Permanente teamed up for their second annual Total Health Forum, featuring Commissioner Adam Silver, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, NBA Legends Rick Fox and James Worthy and All-Star Chris Paul.
The three-hour event explored a variety of health and wellness issues through interactive panel discussions and insightful Q&A’s with a focus on strategies for achieving total health of mind, body and spirit. Here are our five takeaways.
1.) More scheduling changes are on the way
NBA realizes the scheduling impact on players health, as well as the “strong correlation between fatigue and injuries,” as said by Commissioner Adam Silver. As such, the NBA is making changes to the schedule, with players health in mind. Silver explained that they are adding a week to the regular season next year, so that they have seven extra days to space out games, which will decrease the amount of back-to-backs, as well as those dreaded four-games in five nights stretches. The NBA plans to do this by shortening the preseason and in turn, starting the regular season earlier.
2.) Health insurance for retired players
NBA Players Union will fund health insurance for retired players, becoming the only league of it’s kind in the U.S. to have such a program. At the Total Health Forum, Chris Paul, President of the NBPA explained why this change was of utmost importance: “One thing is inevitable, at some point we are all going to be a retired player…Having that health insurance for retired players is huge.”
3.) A greater commitment and focus on mental health
“We feel strongly that what we haven’t done in the industry is put enough attention on what is the latest thinking on how to really deal with mental wellness and mental health and mental illnesses,” said Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson. “We’re working on the body and there’s a lot of people working on the spirit, and now we’re doubling down on mental health and mental wellness. At Kaiser Permanente, we say we are reattaching the head to the rest of the body. The brain is an organ like everything else and we must continue to figure out how to tie all of that together.”
For Chris Paul, time management is a huge part of teaching mental health: “The mental state is more than half of it. I think the biggest thing that I learned is time management. We talk about working out and training and a healthy lifestyle and for any and everybody it’s time management, and the other thing that I learned is you make time for what you want to make time for.”
4.) Focus on health has changed and evolved over the years
Former Lakers champion and NBA legend Rick Fox thought back on what the league was like years ago: “I came from the era where when I got done with the game we had beers on the plane. And halfway through my career, it was still an era where it was okay for guys to smoke cigars, none of that was a thought in anyway that it was deteriorating your productivity, very quickly you start to understand that everything you put in your body generates a result.
The NBA has done a great job evolving themselves, we didn’t have these types of partnerships where we focused on teaching the current set of athletes what it meant to do what you can do now, to stay at your best.
I look across the landscape of the NBA players today and I see a wiser and more in tuned athlete that’s really abreast at what’s out there at their disposal to actually make them the best that they can be.”
5.) The NBA’s commitment to extending total health awareness off the court
Since 2015, The NBA and Kaiser Permanente have hosted more than 150 FIT clinics, engaging over 25,0000 youth in local communities throughout the United States. Magic Johnson: “Our community is always about two things: what’s the message and who’s the messenger and if you don’t have the messenger to deliver that message to our people then it’s never going to be successful.
It’s not just today, it’s what are we going to do once we leave here…Sometimes people are so poor that they can’t go to the doctor, they can’t take their kids to get a physical, well we’ve got to work together take the doctors to them and if we can do that, we can change people’s lives. I’m in to changing peoples lives, that’s what this is all about. We’ve got to get really serious about helping those that can’t help themselves. It’s about how can we affect change, that’s what it’s all about.”