Basketball Safety Tips

Injury Prevention Basketball cartoonBasketball is a popular sport for both boys and girls from school age to young adult. Unfortunately, basketball is tied with cycling injuries as one of the most frequent sports-related injuries seen in the nation’s emergency departments. Many of these injuries can be prevented if players follow the rules of the game, train and condition correctly, and play in safe environments.

Injuries to basketball players are usually minor and consist of sprains and strains. The most common injuries occur to the ankle and knee. Eye injuries are also common as a result of being hit with fingers or elbows. Injuries in children most often occur during practice, and girls have a higher rate of injury than boys. Girls also appear to have a higher rate of serious injury than boys.

Safety Tips

  • Before your child starts any sports program take him/her to the doctor for a physical and injury risk assessment.
  • Be sure your child wears all required safety equipment whenever he/she practices or plays. Basketball safety gear includes:
    • Knee guards
    • Mouth guards (protect teeth and mouth, especially if the child has braces, and also absorbs some of the shock if the child is hit in the head or jaw)
    • Sports eyewear (for children who wear glasses)
    • For boys, an athletic supporter
  • Children should warm up and stretch before playing.
  • Talk to your child's coach. Coaches must enforce safe play and the rules of the game, and they should be aware of injury risks to children.
  • First aid should be available at every practice and game.
  • Children should never be encouraged to “play through the pain.” If your child is injured, seek medical care.
  • The environment should be visibly free from damage and hazards.
  • Most important: Playing basketball should be fun! If too much of the focus is on competing and winning your child may push too hard and get hurt.