March is here and basketball fans are rejoicing. This month marks the start of the NCAA’s Final Four Basketball tourney with first round games beginning on March 17. March Madness, as it’s known, is one of the most popular sporting events of the entire year.
Basketball is a symphony of skill and effortless gliding up and down the court by lean and lanky players, but sometimes even the most talented players can suffer an injury.
If you, or your child, play in a recreational league or on a school team, here are some ways to prevent one of these basketball injuries:
Make sure you are in good physical shape at the start of the season. Practice aerobic strength training and flexibility exercises in the off-season. And, always stretch and warm up every time before you play.
Play your position.
Focus on just your position instead of carrying yourself all over the court, and know where other players are to reduce the chance of collisions.
Wear proper equipment.
Choose basketball shoes that fit snugly, offer ankle support and are non-skid. Use protective knee and elbow pads along with a well-fitted mouth guard, and safety glasses if needed.
Secure a safe surface.
If playing outdoors, courts should be free of rocks, holes and other hazards. Indoor courts should be clean, free of debris, and have good traction. Baskets and boundary lines should not be too close to walls, bleachers, or water fountains, and goal posts should be padded.
Avoid too much OT (overtime).
Try not to play the game so much beyond regularly scheduled practices and games that you set yourself up for an overuse injury. Take a break of a day or two between games, if possible, and definitely between each season. Playing the same sport in back-to-back seasons can be damaging to your muscles. Alternating sports and activities gives your body a chance to rejuvenate and can help you become a more well-rounded athlete.