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March Madness & Basketball Injuries (INFOGRAPHIC)

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

With March Madness in full swing, it’s a good time to think about basketball injuries. According to a study of high school basketball players by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), more than one in five male basketball players sustains at least one injury that results in time away from the game every single year.

The vast majority of these injuries (42%) occur in the ankle or foot. Other injuries occur in the hip/thigh (11%) or knee (9%). Sprains are by far the most common type of injury (43%).

Also, you might be surprised to know that 60% of all basketball injuries documented in the study occurred during practice. The majority of in-game injures occur in the second half, as players get tired and possibly more risk prone in driving the scoreboard.

Basketball Strains Players’ Bodies.

A new infographic from the Mayo Clinic sheds additional light on high school basketball injuries. According to their findings, basketball injuries happen at a rate of 1.94 per 1,000 athletic exposures (AE, defined as participation by a player in a game or practice). Where do the injuries occur?

  • 7% knee injuries
  • 7% foot/ankle injuries

The study also found that certain plays create more opportunity for injury. For example, a sharp turn is involved in 30% of ankle injuries; a rotation on a planted foot in 20% of knee injuries; a collision with another player in 30% of knee injuries and 10% of ankle injuries; a sudden stop in 2.5% of ankle injuries; and landing from a jump in 45% of ankle injuries (half of these after landing on another player’s foot).

Strength Training Can Reduce Injury Incidence.

There is good news though. Strength training can reduce the likelihood of injury. By strengthening the body’s core (that is, the muscles in the front, back and sides of the trunk), players can have better control and form. Recommended exercises for core strengthening include:

  • Sidelying abduction
  • Glute bridging
  • Planks

Other Ways to Reduce Risk of Injury

In addition to strength training, basketball players can work neuromuscular training into their routine. These exercises are good for coordinating the brain and muscles by combining balance, strength and agility to improve form and mechanics:

  • Single leg balance
  • Lunge
  • Jumping/landing exercise

Also, by wearing an ankle brace, players can significantly reduce likelihood of sprains. In fact, players who brace their ankle are almost three times less likely to get an ankle sprain. Contrary to popular belief, ankle braces don’t reduce the ability of the ankle muscles to work.

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor

For more on preventing basketball injuries, view this post on ACL injury prevention, or learn more about ACL diagnosis and treatment here. If you do have an injury that requires evaluation and care, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.