Sven Schneider, Johannes Sauer, Gregor Berrsche and Holger Schmitt
Pain among young athletes requires special attention given that symptoms occur during the ongoing development of the conditional, and in particular, the motor capacities, and while the musculoskeletal system is in a continuous process of growth. The purpose of this study was to evaluate prevalence, location, context, and coping strategies regarding pain among young athletes. We chose survey data of young elite athletes from the highest level national basketball leagues in Germany, as this meant that health implications may be observed earlier and in a more pronounced manner. The German ‘Adolescents’ and Children’s Health in Elite Basketball study’ (ACHE study), a quantitative survey, was conducted between April and June 2016. Analyses were based on elite basketball players between 13 and 19 years of age from 46 German teams (n = 182). Constant, and to some extent severe pain, was part of daily life of young elite basketball players: eight out of ten players in the highest German leagues suffered from pain at the time of the survey. Knee, leg, and back pain occurred most frequently. For most players, occasional or frequent consumption of analgesics was the norm, in some cases these were also taken “prophylactically”. The consumption of multiple pharmaceutical substances, especially of cyclooxygenase inhibitors such as ibuprofen and diclofenac, is widespread among adolescent elite basketball players. Physicians involved in treating these athletes should address pain and its management preemptively. Coaches, sporting organizations and parents should be involved in this process from an early stage.