Safety Tips: Basketball

Basketball is a fun and great exercise to be played. Since basketball is a form of contact sport, injuries can occur frequently.

Everyone is playing it because they love the game. And since basketball is played all year round, repetitive injuries resulting from overuse easily happen.


Why basketball safety is important? Nearly half a million of basketball injuries have been treated in clinics and hospitals.

Fortunately, very little of those injuries are life-threatening conditions. Some (like broken bones, ligaments injury and concussion) can be quite serious, though.

The most common injury is ankle sprain. Other common injuries include broken fingers, bruises, broken nose and poked eyes.

There are some safety tips to prevent from injuries. When playing outdoors, fall due to contact and land ing onto the ground can also lead to abrasion wounds.

Indoor environment in terms of the wall and bleachers can also be hazardous. Players  tend to collide as a result of going after loose balls and rebounds .

One should pay attention that it’s not only the players, basketball and the hoop is needed when playing.

Proper playing gear is one of most important factor in preventing injuries. Before playing, these should be worn:

  • Basketball sneakers – Proper shoes can help in reducing ankle sprain and foot injuries. High – top sneaker is ideal but low-rise shoes will suffice.


Basketball sneakers image from

  • Mouth guard – Some youth leagues require players to wear one. In any case, players should be strongly encouraged to wear one to protect the teeth, mouth and tongue.
  • Athletic support – Wearing a protective cup is not mandatory but boys will appreciate it. As for girls, they should consider a good sports bra.
  • Other gears – Shatterproof plastic glasses will add protective function to those who wear glasses and contact lenses.

Basketball can be played anywhere from be it in small spaces or big ones. Playgrounds, gyms and driveways are all potential court. Playing surfaces can be different from one to another.

Players should inspect carefully what the ground surface for playing is like. Uneven surfaces, holes and cracks can lead to ankle sprain. Debris such as broken glass or loose gravel should be carefully looked for.


For those who like to play during night times, a well-lit court and safe place should be considered. Indoor court should provide adequate distance between the edges of court and walls.

Basket stands and nearby wall should be padded and secured. If playing in the gym, other equipment like balls and gym bags should be properly stored.

Basketball stand with padding image from

As with other sports, active movements such as running, cutting and jumping are required.

Because of this, players should keep themselves in good shape and stamina. This is important to reduce the risk of getting injured.

Fitness should be achieved first before hand. A balance diet is also a good factor to keep player healthy and fit.

A proper warm up and stretching session should be commenced before playing. This doesn’t mean that by only doing dribbling or few hoops is adequate.

Player should do some drills such as jumping jacks or running in zig-zag for a few laps. Stretching should be done for areas that are prone to injuries such as the calf, wrist and hamstrings.
                                                                                  Zig zag drills image from


Players should perform dribbling, shooting, layups and running around the court before they play. Knowing the movements in basketball make them easily perform the movements and not feeling awkward and less prone to injury.

And of course knowing and adhering to the game rules is mandatory before competing against others.

Once the game is played, knowing the teammates position, tactical strategy and also opponents will surely avoid unnecessary collision.

Common contact injuries are usually resulting from game fouls. Adhering to rules and obeying the officials’ instructions can avoid this.

Substitution of players within the team is one way to give a ‘break’ or breather to a player. Players should know the limit of their stamina by not pushing beyond their capability.

Hydration is one of important thing to be looked for. Players should know how much of fluid to be replaced during the game.

Heat strokes and dehydration can be quite dangerous , particularly on sunny days in outdoor court.

Players who had pain in the muscles or joints should stop playing and seek medical attention. Studies have shown that risk of injury is higher in those who have had previous injury.

Lastly, players should at all times know where the ball is. Most injuries result from being hit by the ball when they aren’t aware of it. A basketball is hard enough to break a nose or a finger.

Knowing the ball image from

Frequent playing can lead to tendon of muscles to undergo overuse injuries. Frequent jumping in basketball can lead to what we call ‘jumper’s knee’ which caused anterior knee pain.

This can lead to devastating pain and can affect player’s performance if left untreated.

Players should always seek advise from coaches or tell their parents when experiencing this pain. By keeping it as a secret will only worsen the pain and prolong the recovery time.

If the players felt that the intensity of training or playing is too much, they should discuss with their coaches. Adding a rest in between session of playing will surely help.

Make sure a first aid box or a first aider is available throughout the game session. Accidents do happen at anytime.

Make sure players don’t chew gums, toothpicks or anything else in their mouth as this could cause risk of choking.

As in any competition there will be a winner and loser. Bear in mind not to fight or argue against the final decision made by the officials.

With all this in mind, basketball can be a fun and challenging sport whilst ensuring all safety measures are in place.



2. Journal of Athletic Training; Effects of High-Top and Low-Top Shoes on Ankle Inversion; Mark D. Ricard, Ph. D., et al.; 2000

3. Clinical Sports Medicine, Peter Brukner and Karim Khan

Last Reviewed : 22 Jan 2014
Writer : Lt. Kol. Dr. Ridzuan b. Azmi
Accreditor : Prof. Madya Dr. Ahmad Tajuddin b. Othman