Basketball

01 Overview

In basketball, players work together to shoot the ball through a hoop. It is a longstanding Olympic sport for men and women and is governed locally by Basketball BC. Basketball requires quick changes in direction, jumping and occasional contact with other players. Sprains and strains are the most common injuries in basketball.

(see Section 04 - Prevention)
Athlete silhouette
View Common Injuries by clicking the blue dots on the silhouette

Concussions in basketball players are uncommon; however, they do happen. The most common cause of concussions in basketball players is contact with another player.

Eye injuries can include cuts, scratches or bruising to the eyelid or the eye itself. Eye injuries range in severity, with the potential for permanent loss of vision.

Finger sprains are a very common basketball injury.

Ankle sprains involve injury to the ligament and joint capsule.

Knee sprains are among the most common basketball-related injuries.

02 Injury Statistics

The most common injuries in basketball include ankle sprains, knee sprains, and finger sprains and fractures.

Curious about the research on injuries?

It is estimated that...

View Summary of Incidence Rates

03 Risk Factors

Sustaining specific types of injuries in basketball can be influenced by: sex, competition versus practice, player position, and previous history of injury.

  • Sex

    The evidence around sex as a risk factor for injury in basketball is unclear. Some evidence suggests that high school females have a higher risk of injury in basketball, compared to males; however, other studies report no difference in risk between males and females.

  • Player Position

    The risk of sustaining an ankle sprain is higher in offensive compared to defensive positions among adults during competition, potentially resulting from differences in movement patterns. Defensive play requires more shuffle movements on the ground while offensive play requires more sprints and lateral jumps.

  • Game versus Practice

    The risk of injury increases during competition as compared to practice for both youth and adult basketball players. Players often exert more intense effort during competition and are required to respond to unpredictable play.

  • Previous Injury

    Re-injury accounts for over half of all ankle sprain injuries.

View Summary of Risk Factors

04 How can I prevent injury?

Some muscle soreness or joint pain is expected when increasing your level of physical activity. It is important to listen to your body for persistent or worsening pain, and to know when to rest. Learn more about how to prevent injuries in basketball.

  • Participant & Parent

    Talk to your coach or organization about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of ankle and knee injuries.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program for basketball. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

     

    ACC SportSmart
    The New Zealand government has supported the creation of a warm-up program based on the FIFA 11+. This program has been shown to reduce injuries in rugby and is useful in preventing injuries in a number of sports. The program has exercises for both the upper and lower body.

    Learn more about ACC SportSmart, which has training videos and other resources.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Some athletes sustain shoulder injuries due to the physical demands of basketball. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder strong and reduce the risk of injuries. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to basketball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Protective Equipment

    Personal protective devices such as mouthguards and ankle supports can be used to reduce the risk of injury. Wearing ankle supports in basketball has been associated with a reduction in injury risk of approximately 60%. The perception that ankle supports may negatively impact performance is a known barrier to use, but support from the coach is key when promoting the use of ankle braces.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in basketball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for participants and parents to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Equipment
    Since eye injuries are common in basketball, some athletes choose to wear sports goggles.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Basketball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season, ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Coach & Teacher

    Talk to your organization or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of ankle and knee injuries.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program for basketball. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

     

    ACC SportSmart
    The New Zealand government has supported the creation of a warm-up program based on the FIFA 11+. This program has been shown to reduce injuries in rugby and is useful in preventing injuries in a number of sports. The program has exercises for both the upper and lower body.

    Learn more about ACC SportSmart, which has training videos and other resources.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Some athletes sustain shoulder injuries due to the physical demands of basketball. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder strong and reduce the risk of injuries. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to basketball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Protective Equipment

    Personal protective devices such as mouthguards and ankle supports can be used to reduce the risk of injury. Wearing ankle supports in basketball has been associated with a reduction in injury risk of approximately 60%. The perception that ankle supports may negatively impact performance is a known barrier to use, but support from the coach is key when promoting the use of ankle braces.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in basketball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for coaches and teachers to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Equipment
    Since eye injuries are common in basketball, some athletes choose to wear sports goggles.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Basketball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season, ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing basketball in elementary schools.

    Learn more about implementing basketball in elementary schools.

  • Official & Administrator

    Talk to your coaches, teachers, organization, or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Protective Equipment

    Personal protective devices such as mouthguards and ankle supports can be used to reduce the risk of injury. Wearing ankle supports in basketball has been associated with a reduction in injury risk of approximately 60%. The perception that ankle supports may negatively impact performance is a known barrier to use, but support from the coach is key when promoting the use of ankle braces.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of ankle and knee injuries.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program for basketball. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into the coach’s training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

     

    ACC SportSmart
    The New Zealand government has supported the creation of a warm-up program based on the FIFA 11+. This program has been shown to reduce injuries in rugby and is useful in preventing injuries in a number of sports. The program has exercises for both the upper and lower body.

    Learn more about ACC SportSmart, which has training videos and other resources.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Some athletes sustain shoulder injuries due to the physical demands of basketball. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder strong and reduce the risk of injuries. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to basketball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in basketball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Equipment
    Since eye injuries are common in basketball, some athletes choose to wear sports goggles.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Basketball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season, ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely implementing basketball in elementary schools.

    Learn more about implementing basketball in elementary schools.

  • Health Professional

    The role of health professionals in preventing basketball injuries has two main components:

    1. Providing ongoing education to players, parents, and coaches on effective injury prevention programs such as balance and resistance training; and
    2. Ensuring that injured players are completely healed and fit-to-perform before returning to basketball to prevent re-injury or chronic injury.

     

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program. Completing this warm-up program can lower the likelihood of ankle and knee injuries.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program for basketball. Encouraging players, their parents, coaches, and officials to include a well-rounded training program into their warm-up at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

     

    ACC SportSmart
    The New Zealand government has supported the creation of a warm-up program based on the FIFA 11+. This program has been shown to reduce injuries in rugby and is useful in preventing injuries in a number of sports. The program has exercises for both the upper and lower body.

    Learn more about ACC SportSmart, which has training videos and other resources.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    Some athletes sustain shoulder injuries due to the physical demands of basketball. The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder strong and reduce the risk of injuries. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent back injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Get Set Neuromuscular Training
    The Get Set app contains exercises that can be done at home. Created by the Oslo Sports Trauma Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, and Making Waves AS in 2014 for the International Olympic Committee, the app allows you to search by body part to view exercises that work to strengthen each area of the body, or search by sport to view a library of exercises that are specific to basketball.

    Download Get Set for Android.

    Download Get Set for iOS.

    Managing Concussion

    While concussions are not the most common injury in basketball, it is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Equipment
    Since eye injuries are common in basketball, some athletes choose to wear sports goggles.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Basketball is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about pre-participation physical evaluation.

    Learn more about Pre-participation Physical Evaluation.