Basketball was first introduced to the world in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, a physical education professor at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield Massachusetts. On a rainy day during a particularly long, rainy winter, he sought to find an activity to keep his students engaged. He fashioned a basketball net from two peach baskets and used a soccer ball. Today, the game has evolved wildly away from the original form and is now a high intensity, fast-moving, team sport with some of the most talented (and highest paid) athletes in the world.
As with many of today’s high-intensity sports, basketball has its fair share of common injuries given the incidence of fast-moving start and stop movements, a ball passed to other players forcefully, running and jumping associated with moving the ball down the court, and other injuries related to the blocking shots and other player’s movements around the court. The movements of the game, when played intensely or during a casual weekend game, exert a wide variety of forces on the athlete’s body, resulting in a wide variety of injuries sustained. Common injuries include ankle sprains, jammed fingers, knee injuries, deep thigh bruising, facial cuts, foot fractures and, of course, all sorts of other injuries.
One factor that contributes to injury in many basketball players is size – in the NBA the average player is 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs approximately 225 pounds. With this sort of height and weight along with the fact that they are some of the fastest and most agile athletes around, players can see injuries to their bodies magnified when compared to other sports. What might be a twisted ankle in soccer can result in a sprained ankle or torn ligament in basketball because the force of impact is greater given the average player’s size. Even for smaller players, there is greater risk of injuries because the game is played with so many large athletes.
Because of the risk of injury, it is important that amateur players are wary of the “weekend warrior” game and that they are fully conditioned before going out on the court with more experienced players. By keeping up a regular routine of cardiovascular and weight-training exercise, players will be better prepared to cope with the stresses and strains that basketball can put on the body.