Player Safety

Basketball Injury

Injury Prevention

What to Discover or Recall:

Discover the magnitude and responsibility of player safety and injury prevention.
Learn to be cognizant of potential safety hazards on and around the court at all times.
Understand the importance of never putting a player at risk by having them play while injured.

| Injury Prevention | Common Basketball Injuries |

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Player Injury Prevention

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers the following 12 recommendations and ways players can prevent basketball injuries:

  1. Always take time to warm up and stretch. Research studies have shown that cold muscles are more prone to injury.

  2. Play only your position and know where other players are on the court to reduce the chance of collisions.

  3. Avoid contact. Do not ever hold, block, push, charge, or trip an opponent. Know the proper technique to "give" a foul at the end of a game.

  4. Use proper techniques for taking charges and diving for loose balls.

  5. Select basketball shoes that fit snugly, offer support, and are non-skid. Cotton socks can absorb perspiration and also give added support to the foot. Be sure to lace up shoes tightly.

  6. Protective knee and elbow pads will protect you from bruises and abrasions. Use ankle braces to reduce the incidence of ankle sprains.

  7. Use a mouth guard to protect your teeth and mouth. If you wear glasses, use safety glasses or glass guards protect your eyes.

  8. Do not wear jewelry or chew gum during practice or games.

  9. Avoid playing tired. Take water breaks and rest as needed. Fatigue not only cuts down on performance, but also drastically increases the chances of injury.

  10. Outdoor courts should be free of rocks, holes, and other hazards. Inside courts should be clean, free of debris, and have good traction.

  11. When playing outside, environmental conditions must be considered. Players should avoid playing in extreme weather or on courts that are not properly lighted in the evening.

  12. Be knowledgeable about first aid and be able to administer it for minor injuries, such as facial cuts, bruises, abrasions, along with minor tendinitis, strains, or sprains.

Proper Warm Up

Starting a strenuous physical activity, such as basketball, without proper warm-up is detrimental to athletic performance and health. The purpose of a warm-up is to prepare for muscular activity, and is not an exhausting activity to bring on fatigue. It should be composed mainly of stretching and light running exercises. It should be of sufficient duration and intensity to adequately prepare players for the physical demands of the game or work-out.

Learn More About Proper Warming-Up - Click Here

Cooling Down

Cooling down and/or stretching after practice can be more beneficial to injury prevention than stretching at the start of practice. Think about ending workouts and practices by making 10 consecutive free throws. For younger players make 10 free throws.

The importance of Cooling Down - Click Here

Sufficient Player Rest

It is imperative to provide players with ample rest during a game or practice. This is especially true when participating in big games and tournaments. In practice, be sure to to follow strenuous drills with water breaks or light drills such as shooting.

Playing tired not only reduces a player's performance and effectiveness, but more importantly, increases their chance of injury. When tired, players are more apt to lose their balance along with the ability to avoid contact.

A great substitution rule to use in order to encourage players to hard at all times along with preventing players from hitting the fatigue "wall" along with removing any fear or doubt of not getting back into the game:

If players take themselves out of game (by tugging on shirt) they get to put themselves back into the game when ready. If coach makes the substitution, then coach will make decision when to sub back into the game.

Note: when subbing back into the game, player may not necessary go back in for player who replaced them.


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Common Basketball Injuries

Ankle Injury

First Aid Treatment & Care

Make sure that a first aid kit and supplies including ice or cold packs are available for every practice and game. Also, make sure that the training or first aid room is accessible. This is especially true during non-school hours.

Unfortunately basketball injuries do occur. Each year, more than 1.6 million basketball related injuries are treated in hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers and hospital emergency rooms. Therefore, all coaches, including assistants, volunteers, and personal trainers, in addition to having a current first aid & CPR certification, should be prepared to treat the following basketball related injuries:

Ankle Sprains: First aid: Ice and elevation (internal bleeding). If/when no ice available tie shoe strings tighter. Do not remove shoe. Serious sprains require x-rays.

Knee Twist: First aid: Ice and elevation. Seek medical evaluation.

Bleeding: Cuts especially around the eye brows (Elbows) First aid: Using gloves apply a sterile gauze pad(s) apply direct pressure and elevation.

Bloody Nose: First aid: Have player sitting down, pinch nose (direct pressure) and lean slightly forward using a towel or sterile gauze pad.

Abrasions (floor burns): First Aid: wash with soap and water. Cover loosely.

Dislocations: Fingers, shoulder First aid: immobilize and transport. Do NOT try to relieve dislocation.

Jammed finger or thumb: First aid: apply ice. Tape injured finger to adjacent finger by rapping two thin pieces of tape between joints. Do NOT tape over a joint.

Heat Exhaustion (excessive sweating): First Aid: Cool down and give water. Do not put back into game. Heat exhaustion can progress into life threatening heat stroke.

Muscle Cramps: First aid: apply direct pressure. Once relieve, massage or knead. Abdominal cramps are serious seek medical assistance immediately.

Contusions and Bruises: First Aid: apply ice to injured area (internal bleeding).

Strains & Muscle Pulls: Growing, Thighs, Hamstrings First Aid: Ice

Knocked Out Tooth: First Aid: Jam tooth back into position and transport to dentist. If tooth, cannot be held in place in mouth, put it into cold water or milk. Dental injuries are all too common among young athletes, especially those playing basketball and baseball. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, more than 3 million teeth will be knocked out in youth sporting events in the United States this year.

Youth Basketball - Minor bumps, falls, and pride injuries: First Aid: Take to water fountain and have them drink or rub some “Holy Water” on injury.

Elastic Bandages: Do not use elastic bandages except for holding on ice bags. Elastic bandages can cut off circulation and form blood clots which can be life threatening.

Injury Removal




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