It is once again basketball time in the bluegrass! Basketball is one of, if not the most, popular sports in Kentucky as well as across the world. Whether playing for a school, college/university, professionally or just playing pick up with a group of friends, basketball is a very demanding sport on the human body, and with those high demands comes the potential for injury. These injuries can be acute, meaning they happen suddenly, or chronic, meaning they gradually get worse over time. Some of the most common injuries that occur in basketball are:
- Ankle Sprains
- ACL Sprains
- Patellar tendonitis
- Hamstring strains
- Calf/Achilles strains
It is impossible to guarantee that you will not suffer any injuries while playing basketball. However, there are several things you can do that can decrease your chances tremendously. Some of these things include:
Proper stretching/warm up and cool down habits
Lack of proper conditioning is a common cause of injury. It is recommended that a pre-season conditioning program is started at least a month before the season starts. This allows the body to get acclimated to the demands that will be placed on it during the season in a methodical way that prevents certain injuries from occurring.
In order for your muscles to perform their jobs like they are supposed to, they need proper nutrients, but without them they cannot perform their duties properly which may lead to injury. Nutritional needs vary between each individual, so consulting with a nutritionist or using an online nutrition website such as MyPlate can be helpful. It is generally recommended that a balanced diet consist of 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein, and 20% fats for athletes. This can be split up with a variety of different healthy meals as well as snacks throughout the day in order to keep up with the demands being placed on your body. It is also recommended to consume a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day, however most athletes will need to consume more than this in order to replenish water lost through perspiration. Remember - nutritional needs vary between individuals and these are not guaranteed to prevent injury, but they are a good start to having a proper diet and lowering your chances for injury.
Proper stretching/ warmup and cool down habits are often the most neglected piece of injury prevention. Participating in a high demand sport such as basketball without these proper habits can greatly increase your risk of injury. A 15-20 minute dynamic warm up session is recommended before any practice or game. This allows your muscles to become more elastic, allowing them to have some give whenever stresses are applied to them. After activity, static stretching is recommended in order to help maintain the elasticity of those muscles and prevent soreness and stiffness.
If you experience an injury it is important to seek treatment immediately. Even small injuries that may seem minor at first can become major problems and lead to further injuries if left untreated. In many cases, the faster you begin to treat an injury after it occurs, the quicker your recovery time will be, leading to better outcomes. No one wants to be injured but if/when injuries occur, consult with an experienced sports medicine physician that can help put you on the path to recovery, and in some cases, allow you to come back even better than you were prior to the injury.