This year’s NCAA Basketball Championships are over, and what a tournament it was. At the end of all the March Madness, it was the Villanova Wildcats that prevailed for men’s basketball and Notre Dame for women’s basketball—each team winning their second title.
In a tournament with 68 basketball teams competing fiercely, injuries are bound to happen. And many do. Virginia freshman De’Andre Hunter, for example, suffered a broken wrist. Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt missed the opening weekend of the tournament due to a sprained ankle. Injuries are so common during March Madness it can be difficult to keep up with them all.
Still, these injuries can not only affect a team’s ability to play its best, but they can be debilitating, life-changing events for the players who suffer them. And they can happen to players of all ages. So, here are three common basketball injuries and some tips on how to avoid them.
— In a sport with a lot of running, planting, jumping, and landing—cuts and crossovers—ankle injuries tend to be the most common. Treatment usually involves the rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) formula. For more serious ankle injuries, though, many athletic teams turn to precision unweighting. Read a recent case study.
— Next to ankle injuries, knees strains, sprains, and even tears are quite common. And they can be just as serious, if not more so. The dreaded ACL tear can end not only a player’s season but his or her career. Knee injury rehabilitation can be a long-term, tricky matter. Still, new clinical approaches like unweighting can be used to treat even chronic knee pain.
— When you’re constantly reaching for loose balls, battling for rebounds, and going for the steal, finger injuries happen. Jammed fingers. Sprains strains. Even mallet finger. Seems minor compared to some other common basketball injuries, but finger injuries can impede a player’s ability to dribble, pass, and shoot. And they can nag, nag, nag, leaving players prone to reinjury.
How to Prevent Common Basketball Injuries
Much of the work of prevention takes place off the court. This includes pre-season evaluations to determine physical fitness and potential problem areas. Naturally, regular training should be a part of any competitive athlete’s program. But within those programs, a culture needs to be established in which players avoid overuse injuries. More importantly, a culture that incorporates good health and diet should not be overlooked.