Knee PSA For Parents

3 min readApr 15, 2024



Knee surgeries in teens and younger have 4Xed since 2000.

An obvious shift is that youth sports no longer have seasons. They’re now year-round.

I started playing basketball games year-round at age 8.

By 12 I had chronic knee pain.

But Michael Jordan wasn’t even close to specializing in basketball at age 12.

And from 12 till my 20s I never rested in a deep squat like this.

When you’re in pain through your developmental years, your musculature doesn’t develop the same because you avoid certain positions.

And it wasn’t just MJ…

The 4 most common picks for “greatest basketball player ever” are MJ, Lebron, Kobe, and Wilt Chamberlain.


These stories are often told as, “in spite of playing other sports…”

Well, 4 strikes is too many.

It’s not “in spite of.”


My advice is not less activity but rather BALANCING your activity while your body develops.

I’m not an expert on which sports are the “best” balance, so use your own common sense.

I am an expert on balancing basketball with DEEP strengthening, because basketball is played in higher leg ranges.

This creates a gap in how much force you’re handling vs. the development of your knees.

Deep strengthening builds muscle closer around the joint and helps fortify some of the structures of the joint itself.

A simple slant plus gradual loading with a dumbbell, kettlebell, or sandbag in front of you works GREAT.

I also advise Nordic hamstring curls once a week for many years to build both sides of the knee.

While I was all push ups and pull ups, I should also have been mastering deep squats and Nordics.

If you’re like I was and deep squats feel awful, the ATG Split Squat progression has changed the game for making deep squats feel better.

And backward sled or treadmill helps make the ATG Split Squat progression feel better.


I reached my 20s having never dunked, thinking I needed more surgeries and having never considered that the KNEE is one the key SKILLS of my game.

Now in my 30s, it doesn’t seem real that I get to dunk with ease and have crazy knee protection.

Reverse engineering what I could NOT do gradually turned my knees into a strength.

Now I’m raising my own kids with more JOY and less FEAR thanks to this data.

There are no guarantees…

But you can improve.

Yours in Solutions,



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