On June seventh, former NBA center Sean Rooks passed away from heart disease related complications. His death was felt in all corners of the league because of the 43-year-old’s age and his physical condition at the time.
Darryl Dawkins and Moses Malone also passed within a month of each other last year. These former players’ untimely deaths have created a drive to generate heart issue awareness among older NBA centers and forwards.
The NBA Players Association recently decided to hold free heart screenings in select cities for ex-players. These men were encouraged to take heart-related tests and speak with cardiologists about maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.
Tracy Murray was a former three-point-specialist who underwent the screening process in Las Vegas this week.
He spoke to the Boston Globe about adapting to life after basketball: “I’m not doing too much playing, that’s done. The hardwood is unforgiving. With beating our bodies up, there comes a limitation of keeping your bodies up. You can no longer play basketball like you used to.”
These sorts of struggles are common for aging athletes. Their bodies simply cannot handle similar activities that shaped their professional career after the game takes its toll.
Finding different outlets to pursue personal fitness and regular exercise is crucial to manage the body’s weight and health as it grows older.
When asked about Rooks, Murray replied: “Sean was my brother, we grew up together, I’ve never seen him in better shape than he was in.
“With guys like Sean dying at 46, it should be a wake-up call to a lot of people.”
Now, the NBA is trying to play a bigger role in facilitating these wake-up calls to their former employees. Initiatives like increased heart screenings can only help by enabling early detection of problems. By keeping them going the NBA can’t help but be in better shape.