The NCAA tournament starts today! Injuries in the sport of basketball are a part of the game, but the number of head traumas is on the rise. Many people associate brain injuries to football, but the physical contact of basketball is a lot like a football inside.
Basketball is the country’s most popular youth sport, played by one million children- 550,000 boys and 450,000 girls- each academic year. The medical journal, Pediatrics, reported that about 375,000 children and teenagers are treated in the hospital emergency rooms each year for basketball-related injuries. In 2007, the last year of the study, about 4 percent of youth basketball injuries were to the head, about double the number of such injuries reported by emergency rooms in 1997. The data may reflect increasing levels of competitiveness in youth sports, as wells as children playing at younger ages.
There are ways to prevent injuries when playing basketball:
- Get in shape. Being in good overall shape will help to prevent many of the aches and pains associated with playing basketball – or any sport.
- Cross-train. Basketball is a high-impact activity. It’s good to mix in lower-impact forms of exercise like biking and swimming to improve overall conditioning and lessen the risk of injury.
- Don’t overdo it. Many injuries come from over-use of particular joints and movements. The body needs rest to recover from exercise.
- Don’t neglect your core. The muscles of your abdomen and back provide stability for all other activities. Keeping a strong core can help prevent injury to every other part of your body.
- Be aware of the other players. Many of the “bump and bruise” type injuries sustained while playing basketball are caused by players that don’t exercise good body control.
Good luck if you’re playing the sport or just enjoying the NCAA tournament!