• Physical education teacher James Naismith invented basketball in 1891 as a noncontact sport wherein teams competed to throw a ball into opposing peach baskets.

  • Since then, basketball has become increasingly physical with regular contact between players expected, resulting in one of the highest overall injury rates among noncollision sports.


  • Most basketball injuries are sustained in the lower extremity with contact mechanisms accounting for a majority of acute injuries ( Table 72.1 ).

    TABLE 72.1


    Rate of Injury
    (AE = Athlete Exposure)
    G = Game
    P = Practice
    G: 7.68/1000 AEs
    Practice: 3.99/1000 AEs
    G: 9.9/1000 AEs
    P: 4.3/1000 AEs
    G: 24.9/1000 AEs G: 19.3/1000 AEs
    Common Injuries
    (% of Total Injuries)
    Ankle ligament sprains (24.6% G, 23.6% P)
    Knee internal derangements (15.9% G, 9.3% P)
    Concussion (6.5% G, 3.7% P)
    Ankle ligament sprains (26.2% G, 26.8% P)
    Knee internal derangements (7.2% G, 6.2% P)
    Concussion (3.6% G, 3.0% P)
    65% NBA injuries and 66% WNBA injuries to lower extremity
    NBA injuries only: lateral ankle sprain (13.2%), patellofemoral inflammation (11.9%), lumbar strain (7.9%), hamstring strain (3.3%)
    Mechanism of Injury Player contact (46% G, 31% P)
    Other contact—balls, standards, ground (24% G, 18% P)
    No contact (29% G, 47% P)
    Player contact (52% G, 44% P)
    Other contact—balls, standards, ground (24% G, 18% P)
    No contact (22% G, 36% P)
    Overuse and inflammatory conditions (tendinitis, bursitis, synovitis) accounted for greatest amount of time lost from practices and games in both leagues (22% NBA, 27% WNBA)

    Data from Agel J, Olson DE, Dick R, Arendt EA, Marshall SW, Sikka RS. Descriptive epidemiology of collegiate women’s basketball injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association injury surveillance system, 1988-1989 through 2003-2004. J Athl Train . 2007;42(2):202-210; Deitch JR, Starkey C, Walters SL, Moseley JB. Injury risk in professional basketball players: a comparison of Women’s National Basketball Association and National Basketball Association athletes. Am J Sports Med . 2006;34(7):1077-1083; Dick R, Hertel J, Agel J, Grossman J, Marshall SW. Descriptive epidemiology of collegiate men’s basketball injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System, 1988-1989 through 2003-2004. J Athl Train . 2007;42(2):194-201; Drakos MC, Domb B, Starkey C, Callahan L, Allen AA. Injury in the national basketball association: a 17-year overview. Sports Health . 2010;2(4):284-290.

  • The five most common injuries in pediatric ED visits are ankle sprains, finger sprains, finger fractures, knee sprains, and facial lacerations.

  • US high school basketball players are over two times more likely to sustain an injury in practice than in game.

General Principles

Biomechanical Principles

  • Basketball requires a high degree of vertical movements, requiring 35–46 jumping and landing activities per game, over twice those of soccer or volleyball.

    • A combination of both single- and two-footed jumps and landings

    • A high demand of lateral movement and shuffling, particularly while defending

  • Recent rule changes at the professional and collegiate level including shortening the shot clock and implementation of the charge circle have led to a faster pace of play, which places higher demands on individual participants.

Equipment and Safety Issues

  • Sudden cardiac death (see Chapter 35 )

    • Male basketball players have the highest incidence of sudden cardiac death among all NCAA athletes, with black males at a higher risk than white males

    • An emergency action plan must be in place, including readily available AED and early defibrillation.

  • A high rate of facial injuries in basketball including eye, oral, dental, and nasal trauma (see Chapter 47 , Eye Injuries in Sports and Chapter 48 , Maxillofacial Injuries)

    • Facial protective equipment, including protective goggles and mouth guards, are used by some but are not required.

    • A hard protective face mask recommended for at least 2–3 weeks after a nasal fracture.

Common Injuries

Concussions (See Chapter 45 , Head Injuries)

  • The third most common form of basketball injury at the NCAA level (see Table 72.1 )

  • Immediate evaluation may require escorting the player to the locker room owing to close proximity of the sideline to the court.

  • Do not return a symptomatic player to the competition.

  • Follow the return-to-play protocol as per internationally recognized guidelines.

Finger Injuries

Frequently caused by direct trauma from the ball, opponent, or rim of the basket

“Jammed Finger”—Collateral Ligament Injury

  • Mechanism: Forced ulnar or radial deviation of finger, resulting in partial or complete tear of collateral ligaments; most often PIP

  • History/examination: Tenderness at the involved joint; check for stability with varus and valgus stress testing with the involved joint at 30 degrees of flexion; ensure that the MCP is flexed to 90 degrees because an extended MCP will tighten collateral ligaments.

  • Diagnostic considerations: Obtain radiographs if concerns for fracture

  • Treatment: Stable—buddy tape to adjacent finger, may return to play; Unstable—refer to hand surgeon

Jersey Finger

Jul 19, 2019 | Posted by in SPORT MEDICINE | Comments Off on Basketball

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