Health & Family

NBA player blames poor long-range shooting on iPhone 6

San Antonio Spurs' Matt Bonner, against Charlotte Hornets' Lance Stephenson, says his new phone caused a bad case of tennis elbow.
San Antonio Spurs' Matt Bonner, against Charlotte Hornets' Lance Stephenson, says his new phone caused a bad case of tennis elbow. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Injuries to athletes are never funny – but sometimes they sure can be peculiar.

From a top-ranked tennis player being felled by a pedicure gone wrong to a baseball Hall of Famer wrenching his ribs while removing his cowboy boots, there’s no shortage to the number of strange ways that the world’s top competitors can sideline themselves.

Of course, whenever they do, it brings them down a notch – making them more like us.

Earlier this month, NBA free agent Matt Bonner put a new millennium spin on freak injuries – because his was one that would have been impossible to suffer prior to 2014.

The former San Antonio Spurs three-point specialist blamed his subpar long-range shooting during the 2014-15 season on “really bad tennis elbow” that he says he developed from using the iPhone 6.

In an interview with the Concord Monitor, Bonner said, “Everybody is going to find this hilarious but … when the new iPhone came out it was way bigger than the last one, and I think because I got that new phone it was a strain to use it. You have to stretch further to hit the buttons, and I honestly think that’s how I ended up developing it.”

Bonner also noted that a Spurs strength and conditioning coach agreed with his theory because the coach told Bonner that he too had suffered similar pain from using his iPhone 6.

The device’s extra length – the iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches and the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches – means that users have to cover up to 37.5 percent more surface space than they did with the 4-inch iPhone 5.

For one-handed users, this can mean trying to extend the thumb to the point that the wrist and surrounding connective tissue are put in compromised positions. Do this numerous times daily and/or for extended periods of time, and one is almost certain to develop painful hand and/or arm conditions.

Boynton Beach, Florida, chiropractor Dr. David Rudnick explains that smartphone strain “causes multiple biomechanical alterations and compensation patterns to occur. During prolonged overuse, certain muscles turn off and other muscles become overactivated.”

Over time, Rudnick says, this could lead to the development of scar tissue, which puts further pressure on soft tissue and nerves.

And those are just some of the potential health hazards inherent in (over)using your smartphone.

Every day, Rudnick treats patients for “tech neck” – which is both caused, and exacerbated, by the excess stress placed on the cervical spine when one looks down at his or her handheld device for extended periods.

In addition, researchers have found that nighttime usage of smartphones, tablets, laptops and e-readers is likely to interrupt sleep patterns.

That’s because of the blue light they emit – which inhibits the body’s natural production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

According to the National Academy of Sciences (pnas.org), “The use of these devices before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning.”

All good reasons to disconnect from digital life when the sun goes down.

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