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Basketball Injuries and Prevention Tips

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To schedule an appointment with a physician or other Sports Medicine expert, call
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Each year, while pro basketball players defy gravity and college players fight to survive until tournament time, high school and recreational athletes take to the courts in organized leagues and competitive games of their own. Like the pros and college players, high school and recreational athletes are subject to basketball injuries from the games:
  • Short, intermittent bursts of activity
  • Quick stops and starts
  • Physical contact

So, if you're planning to play hoops, be aware of the most common basketball injuries and how to treat them.

Common Basketball Injuries

The most common high school and college basketball injuries that require advanced sports therapy treatment include:

Preventing Basketball Injuries

Basketball training tips and techniques

Ideally, basketball injury prevention and training for the season starts three weeks before the beginning of the season to build a base of strength and conditioning. For most recreational athletes, this may not be realistic time wise, however, even minor conditioning is better than none at all.

Try to get at least a base level of conditioning in the weeks or months prior to the season.

Focus on strength-training squats, plymetrics, and jumping drills, as well as drills that improve ability to move well on the court.

Helpful On-Court Drills

Star drill

Place four cones in a square, eight to 10 feet apart. Stand in the center of the square, and have your drill partner point to a cone. Get yourself to the cone, touch it, and return to the center as quickly as you can. Before you're back to the center, your partner should be pointing to the next cone you have to touch. Start with 30 seconds and build to a minute or two. This improves your ability to change direction quickly and awareness of body position.

Zigzag drill

Place six cones on the court in a zigzag pattern (cones should be about 16 feet apart and at 45 degree angles). Start at the first cone and sprint to the second, then third, fourth, fifth, and sixth. Reverse the pattern and return to the first cone. Repeat for 30 seconds; build up to a minute or two. This gives you practice in quick bursts of speed and shifting direction.

Medicine ball shuffle

Stand at one end of the court facing your partner who is a foot or two away from you. Do a sideways shuffle for the length of the court, passing the medicine ball back and forth. This works your shuffling ability, balance, strength, and ability to stay low.

For athletes who have experienced sports-related injuries, UPMC Sports Medicine's orthopaedic surgeons, board-certified athletic trainers, and physical therapists will help to speed recovery and restore function. Call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678) to schedule an appointment.

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