Recovery Time Plays for Key Role for NCAA’s March Madness Athletes

Fox News—March 26, 2015

For three weeks each spring, the nation is in a basketball frenzy as millions tune in to watch the NCAA March Madness tournament and follow their favorite teams. While Cinderella stories and coaching rivalries fight for headline space, one or two lines about a player’s injury could threaten to break a fan’s perfected bracket.

From the very first tipoff, 68 Division 1 teams set off on a marathon of athletics, similar to professional level scheduling, in hopes of still standing come April 6. To prepare for such high-intensity play with minimal time for rest, athletes must pay attention to each signal their bodies are sending, said Dr. Riley J. Williams, a specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery and head team physician for the New York Red Bulls and Iona College Athletics.

“It’s not the ideal circumstance for optimal performance, but having said that, the NBA does it all the time without obvious association with back-to-back games and injury,” Williams told

For the collegiate athlete who is forced to adjust to the national spotlight, possibly a different time zone, and a foreign arena, Williams said a key factor is adhering to a regular sleep pattern and getting plenty of rest.

“Not being able to get adequate rest in between games can have a dramatic effect on hand-eye coordination, strength and aerobic performance,” Williams told

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