Basketball – A Tough Sport for Even Tougher People


By Jordan Heberg

Private photos by interviewees

With today’s modern game of basketball there are various injuries that may occur. There is an estimation of 1.6 million injuries that have been recorded associated with basketball each year. There are a few injuries that happen more often such as ankle sprains, jammed fingers and knee injuries. Many injuries can reoccur if not taken care of right away.

According to my athletic trainer, Blake Hudspeth, one of the most common injuries that happen in basketball is ankle sprains. An ankle sprain is defined as an acute injury, which means that the injury can have swelling for 24-48 hours until it goes down. An easy way to get the swelling to go down would be rest and ice. Elevation while icing will help the swelling go down majorly with a visual decrease in the swelling over time. X-rays should be taken if the sprain is on the bone of the ankle and could cause further injuries to the foot if not taken care of. One of my teammates this year had an ankle sprain.

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Me: Megan, how did you sprain your ankle?

Megan: During practice, I went up for a layup and landed on another teammate’s foot. I then rolled underneath my own ankle.

Me: What was your initial feeling? How long were you out? How long was the recovery and how did you recover?

Megan: The initial feelings was a shooting pain, and I knew from the moment that it happened that my ankle was messed up. At first, there was a ton of swelling and I had to ice on and off for a couple days until the swelling went down. After that, I was out of practice for a week or two. Recovery included ankle strengthening exercises with my trainer until I felt strong enough to practice.

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Another injury that is very common would be jammed fingers. This occurs when the basketball contacts the end of the finger and causes a significant swelling of a finger joint. The best way to manage a finger jam would be icing the finger until the swelling goes down or buddy taping the finger to the one next to it. Buddy tape will take some of the relief and pressure off of the finger and would allow the player to get back into the game as quick as possible. If there is no decrease of swelling to the finger x-rays may be needed to see if the finger is broken.

Lastly, in the game of basketball there are maneuvers that are strenuous to the knees. Knee injuries could possibly sideline someone for the rest of the season depending on the injury that occurs. An injury to the medial collateral ligament, better known as the MCL, is most common after the player is hit to the outside of the knee and can be treated with ice. A knee brace can help to so that there is something holding the knee in place and allows the player to remain in the game. An injury to the anterior collateral ligament, which is better known as the ACL, is a serious injury that can happen with a sharp cut or leaping into the air for the ball. This ligament tear can cause someone to miss the remainder of the season due to the person having to undergo surgery. An injury that one of my teammates experienced was a tear in her meniscus.

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Me: What exactly was your injury?

Madison: Medial meniscus tear in my right knee

Me: How long was the recovery and what was the rehab like/consist of?

Madison: Three weeks after surgery was the recovery. I had to work on bending my knee as far as possible, flexing my quad and forcing my knee into the ground, then leg raises.

The game of basketball has various injuries that may happen but there are some ways that can prevent the athlete of becoming hurt. Any athlete should keep a proper fitness; if an athlete is not in proper physique and in shape injuries are most likely to occur. Stretching can prevent injuries to a higher degree. Stretching before and after a sporting event can help with loosening ligaments and joints in the body so that they don’t go stiff. Hydration is also a major priority that any athlete should have so that the blood does not clog up and cause swelling. If the athlete waits too long to hydrate, the body will not function the way that it needs to. Always take care of your body and know the right ways to prevent injuries that may get you sidelined for the rest of your career.

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