Basketball Injuries and How to Prevent Them

October marks the beginning of the 71st season of the National Basketball Association. The regular season kicks off on the 25th with 2016 NBA champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, hosting a game against our very own New York Knicks. This being the case, I thought it only right that I wrote a post about basketball, the injuries it commonly leads to, and the best ways to prevent them.

Basketball is one of America’s favorite sports, but it is also the fourth most injury-prone there is. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), two players from every high school basketball team get injured on average per season, with 200,000 under-15s ending up in ER due to basketball-related injuries every year.

So what sort of injuries are they? Basketball injuries generally fall into two camps – overuse and traumatic. Overuse injuries are the result of stressing an area over and over until it is damaged. For basketball players the most common are Achilles tendinitis or rotator cuff problems. Traumatic injuries, on the other hand, are caused sudden, forceful acts and can be anything from ankle sprains and jammed fingers to muscle tears and serious knee injuries.

The main secret to avoiding both is thoroughness. Have a thorough pre-season physical examination with a doctor and be sure to do a thorough warm up every time you play. According to NATA, 60% of all high-school basketball injuries happen during practice, so never skip out on warming up. A lot of the other main ways to avoid injury apply to all exercise – stay hydrated, maintain a good level of fitness, ease back into play gradually, and be sure to use the correct technique. Wearing the correct footwear with skid-resistant soles and ankle support also goes a long way to reducing injury in the lower leg.

In the event that you do suffer an injury, how you treat it will obviously depend on the nature of the injury itself and this varies from player to player. For some, even traumatic injuries, including ankle sprains, jammed fingers, knee injuries and deep thigh bruising, can be healed with methods as simple as RICE -Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. ACL tears and stress fractures, however, can be much more serious. In all cases, the top piece of advice I could give to any injured player would be to… go see a doctor, and do exactly as they say!

If you have any questions about the injuries covered in this piece – or any sports-related injuries in general – simply reach out via our contact page here and I will happy to discuss them with you.