Basketball Injuries

Basketball is a popular youth sport in the United States, with more than 1 million annual participants in high school alone. The large participation numbers, though, mean that thousands of children are injured in practices and games every year. Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have studied those injuries and have suggestions for how they can be prevented and treated.

One study found that between 1997 and 2007, more than 4 million basketball-related injuries to children and adolescents were treated in hospital emergency departments. The annual number of injuries decreased during the study, but traumatic brain injuries rose 70 percent during the same time period.

In a separate study, researchers looked at basketball injuries among adolescents, some of whom were treated in an athletic training setting and others in hospital emergency departments. Just over 1.5 million injuries were treated in emergency departments from 2005 through 2010, and more than 1 million others were treated in athletic training settings from the 2005-2006 school year through the 2010-2011 year.

The study highlighted the important role onsite athletic trainers can play. They are able to treat mild and moderate injuries courtside, so student athletes don’t need to make trips to emergency rooms or urgent care facilities, as well as monitor the progress as athletes return to play after an injury. Unfortunately more than half of high schools in the U.S. don’t have access to an athletic trainer. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, as of 2009, only 42% of high schools have athletic trainers despite a recommendation made by the American Medical Association’s recommendation in 1998 that all high school sports programs have an athletic medicine unit.

Both studies noted the importance of teaching athletes, coaches and parents how to recognize the symptoms of concussions so these serious injuries can be reported to medical professionals for proper treatment.

For more information on basketball injuries, see the resources below.

Additional Basketball Injuries Resources

  • Epidemiologic comparison of injured high school basketball athletes reporting to emergency departments and the athletic training setting
  • Basketball-related injuries in school-aged children and adolescents in 1997-2007
  • Epidemiology of knee injuries among boys and girls in US high school athletics
  • When the rules of the game are broken: what proportion of high school sports-related injuries are related to illegal activity?