Team, NBPA Host Alumni Health Screenings

by Lauren Rosen

Since the National Basketball Players Association began hosting free health screenings for former players in 2015, over 500 alumni have participated.

While most of these events have been held at national league events, such as NBA Summer League and All-Star Weekend, the 76ers, in conjunction with the NBPA, hosted their first in-house health screening Saturday at the 76ers Training Complex.

NBA alum and 76ers General Manager Elton Brand participated in the screenings, along with former players, including World B. Free, Bo Kimble, and Tito Horford, father of current 76er Al Horford.

“For myself, I did it a couple years ago in Detroit, and I’m glad to do it again here in Philadelphia,” Horford said. “I think it is important because we as athletes need to check ourselves on a regular basis.”

The event marked the first Players Association screening in Philadelphia, and one of six free screenings the NBPA offers every year.

“Obviously, the Sixers have a state-of-the-art facility,” said Joe Rogowski, the NBPA Director of Sports Medicine. “What they have right now, it’s a good bar to be set for some of the other teams in the league.”

76ers and Rothman Orthopaedics at Jefferson Health doctors Dr. Christopher Dodson, head team physician, Dr. Barry Kenneally, head medical physician, participated at the screening and were joined by Dr. David Shipon, team cardiologist, of Jefferson University Hospital.

“It’s certainly a privilege for me to take care of a lot of these players,” Dodson said. “They obviously put a lot into the game, and this is our way of giving back to them.”

“It’s great to see our team docs who work with us throughout the year, who are our partners at Rothman and Jefferson involved in these screenings,” said Brand. “It means that we’re doing the right thing, and I’m glad that they’re here to help us give back to the retired players.”

The screenings have already proven beneficial to former players. 

In 2017, NBA Hall of Famer Nate “Tiny” Archibald attended a screening where he was found to have a rare heart condition. The discovery led to Archibald’s successful heart transplant in 2018.

These screenings, which provide elite and convenient healthcare to former NBA, G League, and WNBA players, aim to help former players maintain their health into their retirement. At the Training Complex, participants received blood work, electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, and orthopedic and cardiology consultations.

“I believe that something like this, to go around the NBA, is going to be something that’s remembered for the guys like us for a long time,” World B. Free, Ambassador of 76ers Basketball, said. “It’s a good thing.”

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