Basketball Injury Prevention

November 23, 2016

The NBA is in full swing, college basketball just began, and high school and rec league basketball are about to tip off, so it’s important to be prepared for potential injuries that may present themselves to you or your little basketball star.

Per the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 501,000 basketball-related injuries led to hospital emergency room visits in 2009.

If possible, we all want to avoid that trip to the ER or the doctor, so here are a few tips to remember during basketball season.

Prepare for Play

  • Make sure you’re in the proper physical condition before the season begins.
  • Warm up and stretch. Cold muscles are more prone to injury.
  • Hydrate. Dehydration can hurt athletic performance. It’s recommended to drink 24 ounces of non-caffeinated fluid 2 hours before exercise and drink 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of activity.

Wear Appropriate Gear


  • It’s important to wear basketball shoes and not regular tennis shoes. Basketball shoes have a high top that provides ankle support.
  • Wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and jaw.
  • Do not wear jewelry or chew gum while playing.

 Safe Environment

  • If playing outside, make sure the area is clear of rocks and other debris.
  • Ensure the area you are playing in is properly lit.
  • Be aware of bleachers or other structures in the areas surrounding the court. 

Proper Technique

  • Play your position and pay attention to the locations of other players to lower the chance of collisions.
  • Do not block, push or trip opponents.
  • Jammed fingers are very common, so using the proper techniques for passing is vital in avoiding this injury.

 Listen to Your Body

  • If you do not feel well or something hurts, take care of yourself. Playing when you are sick or injured will only make it worse.
  • If you get hurt during the game, make sure you’re fully healed before returning to play. With joint issues this means no pain, no swelling, ability to complete full range of motion and normal strength. 

Prepare for and Prevent Injuries

  • Coaches should be prepared to treat minor injuries and have a plan for more significant injuries. Have a first aid kit on hand.
  • Overuse injuries are becoming more common as children are training year-round. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons partnered with STOP Sports Injuries to educate parents, coaches and athletes about how to prevent overuse injuries. Here are a few tips:
    • Limit the number of teams your child is playing on in one season.
    • Don’t allow your child to play one sport year-round. Taking regular breaks and playing other sports is key to skill development and injury prevention.

Content adapted from OrthoInfo, Basketball Injury Prevention.


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