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Hoops – Injury Time Out

Healthy bodies help minimize potential injuries

With the clock quickly ticking down to zero and the ball in his hand, the team’s star forward breaks through the defense’s suffocating zone defense and leaps to the hoop in one gliding, Jordanesque move within inches of the rim. Just as the ball reaches the tips of his fingers on its arc to the basket, the player collides mid-air with his defensive nemesis. Bodies crashing, they both go to the floor as the clock expires with the game tied and an overtime period just minutes away. The young man slowly rises from the floor and reaches down to help his opposing player stand. The defensive player struggles, winces and finds he’s unable to put any weight on his right foot.

Basketball is an aggressive, fast-moving sport, and as such injuries are not uncommon. With the majority of injuries taking place in the leg (from hip to toe), here are some professional tips to help mitigate getting hurt on the court and highlight which injuries are most likely to afflict hoopsters.

The stats

Sportsinjuries.com estimates that overall, 1.6 million injuries are associated with basketball each year. Momsteam.com states these are mostly minor ankle and foot sprains and strains from playing basketball affect more than 200,000 young people under age 15 each year. Jammed fingers, knee injuries, deep thigh bruising, eye and facial cuts, stress fractures, and general trauma are also regularly reported injuries.


1 )  Younger participants should see the family physician for a preseason physical examination and follow his or her instructions.

2 )  Hydrate adequately before, during and after a game.

3 )  Maintain proper fitness. Injuries can occur more easily when there has been a period of inactivity. Prepare in advance with a combination of gradually increasing levels of aerobic conditioning and strength and agility training. Overuse can also lead to injury – work with an athletic trainer to help reduce that risk. If an injury has occurred, return to play only after your doctor provides clearance.

Links to basketball injury websites



By Holly Harmon for Puget Sound Orthopaedics


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