Common Basketball Injuries

Basketball is an incredibly popular sport across the globe, with an estimated 450 million people playing it all around the world. If this is something you love to play, it’s important to know the risks that are associated with it. There are many injuries that people of all ages suffer when they play basketball, some of which you may not even be familiar with. To ensure you understand the physical risks of playing this sport, take a look at some of the most common basketball injuries listed below.

1. Strained Muscle

2010-10-02_pulled_hamstring1A strained muscle occurs when a muscle is exercised too hard and becomes over-stretched. Individuals who play basketball in particular most commonly experience these types of strains in their calves while playing. While some strains are not very painful, grade 3 strains can cause incredible pain because it results in a torn muscle.

Tip for avoiding this injury: It’s recommended to stretch your muscles before exercising and on a regular basis.

2. Torn Meniscus

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This injury occurs when the knee joint is over-flexed or twisted in a forced manner. When this occurs, the meniscus, which is a disc that cushions the knee, is torn. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly painful injury and one that can cause swelling as well as a limited range of motion. This is especially common in basketball players because they’re constantly on their feet during games and twisting in complex movements.

Tip for avoiding this injury: Stretching regularly is just as important as resting on days when your body needs to recover.

3. Plantar Fasciitis

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Causing varying degrees of heel pain, plantar fasciitis is provoked by a strain in the plantar fascia, which is a group of tissues that stretches from the toes to the heel bone. When the plantar fascia is torn or under strain, it will cause swelling, irritation, and pain that makes it difficult to walk or run. This is common with basketball players in particular because they’re constantly on their feet and repeating the same movements every day.

Tips for avoiding this injury: Wearing comfortable shoes with arch support can greatly help with this injury. Stretching and resting are also important tips for keeping plantar fasciitis at bay.

4. Patellar Tendonitis

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This injury occurs when the patellar tendon, which connects the shinbone to the kneecap, is overworked. This causes inflammation, which can make it very painful to run, jump, or kick. This is common for basketball players because they jump so frequently during games.

Tips for avoiding this injury: Although it may be difficult, avoiding over-training is one of the best ways to prevent this injury. In addition to this, it’s recommended to strength train in the legs and try to get regular massages specifically for sports players.

5. Sprains

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Sprains are caused by overstretched ligaments that are pushed beyond their normal limits. For basketball players these are most common in the knee and ankle because those are the most over-worked parts of the legs in this sport. While this may not sound severe, it can still cause incredible pain as well as swelling.

Tips for avoiding this injury: Although it’s not guaranteed to prevent knee sprains, the risk can be minimized by wearing snug and comfortable shoes as well as ankle supports. In some situations knee pads are recommended as well.

6. ACL

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The ACL, otherwise known as the anterior cruciate ligament, helps to hold the knee together along with three other primary ligaments. Due to the fact that it’s primary job is to keep the tibia from moving forward to the femur and provide rotational stability within the knee, it’s easy to see why an injury can cause such a huge problem. Unfortunately this is common with basketball players because their knees are often twisted, overextended, and overused while playing this sport.

Tips for avoiding this injury: It’s recommended to stretch regularly, warm up before games, regularly do strength training, and practice agility training for the best chance of prevention.

7. Shin Splint

Causing pain in the inside of the lower leg or front of the leg, shin splints are caused by small microtears in the tibia bone that’s at the front of the lower leg. Most common in sports such as basketball, these tend to get worse because of how much time players spend on the court. Their weight and the fact that they exercise for hours on end can cause added stress and pain in this area of the leg.

Tips for avoiding this injury: It’s recommended to wear supportive shoes with arch support to help prevent this injury. In addition to this, players should stretch their shin muscles and use supportive bandages to help keep muscles supported.

8. Jammed Finger

While this may not be as bad of an injury as some of the others, it’s still painful and inconvenient for basketball players who rely on their hands to play this sport. Caused by an awkward hit on the tip of the finger, this can result in inflammation and pain that makes it difficult to move the finger normally. Fortunately, elevation, ice, compression, and rest can help ease the pain from this in just a few days time.

Tips for avoiding this injury: There’s no precise way to prevent a jammed finger other than being vigilant about where your hands are while playing basketball.

9. Broken Nose

With so many players on the court going for the same thing, it’s easy to see how a broken nose can occur while playing. Most of the time an elbow to the face is to blame, which can put a player out for weeks at a time.

Tips for avoiding this injury: Some players wear a plastic face shield in order to avoid a broken nose.

Enjoying Basketball Safely to Prevent Injury

Although there are always risks associated with playing basketball, this doesn’t mean you have to quit playing it for good. It’s still a good form of exercise that can help keep you healthy and allow you to burn off extra calories to prevent weight gain. However, don’t forget to keep the preventative tips listed above in mind. These can help keep you safe while playing so you can enjoy this sport without a high risk of suffering from injuries.

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What is the NBA?

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The NBA (National Basketball League) is America’s league of basketball.

There are thirty teams divided in two conferences and a total of six divisions, three per conference. The two conferences are known as the Western and Eastern Conference, and the divisions are Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest (Western Conference), and Southeast, Central, and Atlantic (Eastern Conference). Each division, no matter the conference, has five teams in it. There are 29 teams that play home games in America, while the Toronto Raptors play theirs in Canada.

Each year, the season starts with training camps, then preseason games that can be held in non-NBA towns, both in the states and overseas. After all of this, the regular season starts, where every team in the league plays 82 games (41 games at home, and 41 away games).

Out of the four major sports, only the teams in the NBA and the NHL plays all of the other teams. The opponents in a NBA’s team’s own division play each other four times. Four teams, in the other divisions (same conference), are played only three times in a season. The other six teams are played four times. Teams from the opposite conference are played two times each in a season.

Washington Wizards v/s Cleveland Cavaliers November 18, 2009 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Washington Wizards v/s Cleveland Cavaliers November 18, 2009 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

There is also a period of the year (called the All-Star Break), in February, where the only game that is played is the All-Star Game. This has all the year’s best players compete in a single game against each other, and the teams are divided by conference. Players who compete in this game are chosen either by team’s head coaches or by the fans. There is a most valuable player award given out in this game. During the All-Star Break, there are also different special contests like the dunk contest, three point shooting contest, and the skills challenge; there is also a Rising Stars game (compiled of the best rookies and second years) that pits the best the US has versus the rest of the world.

At the end of the regular season, here is a regular season MVP, rookie of the year, Sixth Man of the Year, Coach of the Year, and other awards given out to the best players that year.

After all the teams are played, then it is time for playoffs. Which teams play who is decided by ranking; number one seed plays eight, and two plays seven and on and on. There are three rounds where teams play teams from their own conference and then the fourth and the final round is The NBA Finals. In this round, the final two remaining teams from both conferences play each other to see who the champion is. In all rounds of the playoffs, there are best of seven series, where to win the series, you must win four games out of the seven, and depending on how you do in each round, you could end up playing a total of 28 playoff games. After the regular season, you could wind up playing over one hundred games. To win the championship, you must win a total of sixteen playoff games without losing more than four in a single round.

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History of Basketball

The games that are thought to have been invented in North America are dodge ball (a game in which the players form a circle and try to hit opponents in the circle with a large ball), net ball, volley ball, lacrosse and basketball.

naismith_cc_img1Basketball owes its existence to James Naismith, who is believed to have borrowed the idea from the game, popular at that time, called “duck-on-rock”. The game involved tossing a rock at another one, in order to knock the “duck” off it. James Naismith was working as a P.E. instructor at McGill University and Sprinngfield College in Massachusets (which at that time was also a training school for YMCA), when he had the idea of creating a physical activity, that would involve as many students as possible, would not be based on mere physical strength, and would fill the winter gap between football and baseball. The game was, therefore, intended for indoors. This was supposed to be a game based primarily on skills and quick evaluation of different situations, rather than just sweating and running. In 1892, the School for Christian Workers became the first place where it was played.

 

The first equipment used was quite simple: two baskets and a soccer ball, plus a list of 13 hand-written rules that were supposed to regulate the game. Of course, that remotely resembled the basketball we know today, as dribbling was yet unknown: the players just passed the ball to one another, trying to put it into the basket. If the attempt was successful, a point was scored; the next thing was manually getting the ball out of the basket, which was done by climbing a ladder. It took time and was not as spectacular as the basketball games are today. However, that was a great way for young men full of energy to compete and keep in physical shape, so it definitely served the purpose.

The next day the list with rules was gone, but very soon one of James Naismith’s students, Frank Mahon, confessed “committing the crime”, and handed back the list of rules, saying the game would soon become very popular. His words appeared to be prophetic.

Naismith witnessed basketball spread all over the world with amazing speed; it was largely due to the movement of YMCA in the end of the 19th century. Another branch of this sport – women’s basketball started with the rules of Naismith adjusted for women by another P.E. teacher, Senda Berenson, in 1892; she also organized the first official college game in March, 1893. Naismith went on to coach basketball at the University of Kansas; his disciples were spreading the game throughout the United States.

It wasn’t until 1893, that hoops made of iron an a hammock-kind basket became part of the game. However, even these had bottoms, so painful process of retrieving the ball by climbing up to the hoop continued. It took the net another decade to lose the bottom, allowing the ball to fall back without manual assistance.

Basketball was first demonstrated to the rest of the world during the 1904 Olympic Games, and 34 years later was included in its official program. It was only natural that the US was the winner of all the competitions, except for the three times when they had to yield the palm to the USSR (1972, Munich and 1988, Seoul) and the Combined Team of Yugoslavia in 1980, during the Olympic Games in Moscow.

Several decades later, basketball became a typical sport in every college, which made its success even more obvious. The interest to the professionally-played game was increasing with each year.

FIBA (Fedration Internationale de Basketball Amateur) was founded in 1932 by Argentina, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Latvia and Czechoslovakia, becoming the first and the only international basketball organization.

In 1946, the best professional male basketball teams were organized under the Basketball Association of America, which boosted the game’s popularity among the spectators. In three years, BAA changed its name to NBA (National Basketball Association), and that’s how it has been known ever since. In 1967 another league (the American Basketball Association) was established, becoming a real rival to the NBA; the leagues merged 9 years later. Female basketball professional organization followed many years later, in 1997, when Women’s National Basketball Association appeared; it received full support of NBA.

The orange color of the basketball was introduced only in the 1950s, making it a lot easier for the spectators and players to see the ball; it was dark-brown before that. As the ball was still slightly asymmetric, introduction of dribbling, as the only legal way to guide the ball, became possible only with the improvement of manufacturing process.

There are many variations of this game, which take the concept, skills and equipment (the ball, the basket), adjusting the rules to the conditions. There is wheelchair basketball, which became popular with disabled people, after it had been created by the veterans of the Second World War. Water basketball is a game that joins both basketball and water polo rules and concepts. Beach basketball requires a circle-shaped court and a goal; this game is played by making passes, as the only legal way of dribbling, accepted in basketball, is not possible due to the specific surface. Another variation, called one-on-one, involves two players competing with each other, which emphasizes individual skills over team play and shooting from bigger distance.Trivia

1. The score of the first basketball game in 1892 was 1:0

2. The diary of James Naismith was discovered in 2006 by his own granddaughter. According to her, he was then very anxious about the game being widely accepted, because of the numerous previous attempts that failed.

3. The most popular male basketball teams are Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers

4. The total revenue of all the teams in NBA is over $3,43 billion ? year

5. James Naismith is an honorary member of the Basketball Hall of Fame (the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame) from 1959. Apart from the founder of basketball, the Hall of Fame features the most outstanding players, coaches and other people who made the fast development of basketball possible.

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The Rules of Basketball

Basketball is one of the most famous and popular team sports. It is played in two teams of five active players, on a special court, which represents a rectangular. The mid-court line divides it into two equal halves, each end being equipped with a hoop at the height of 10 feet. The aim of each team is to score more points than the rival team, by shooting the basketball through the hoop of the rival; another logical objective is to prevent the other team from gaining access to the team’s hoop and scoring a point.

The organization of the game

Every game has two halves, each of them is divided into two quarters. The length of high school basketball half is 16 minutes, college basketball halves are 20 minutes long, and in NBA it’s 24 minutes. The breaks between the quarters are short (usually 2 minutes long).
The break between two halves of the game is 15 minutes. In case overtime period is required, each lasts for 5 minutes. The total time of the game by far exceeds the limit allotted, as this is the actual playing time. The coach can also request a time-out, when a minute is given for the team to gather and hold a consultation.
The officials present at the game include umpires (one or two) and table officials that record the score, keep track of time, fouls, substitutions etc.

Players’ skills and key positions

During the game, the ball can be either passed or moved by dribbling. The team in possession of the ball is called offence, the other team then becomes defense. The defense team has to steal the ball from their rivals by stealing or deflecting passes from player to the player of the same team, and garnering rebounds.
The skills of the basketball players include dribbling (bouncing the ball with the tips of the fingers of one hand, so as to make it rebound), passing (throwing, handing or bouncing the ball to another player), shooting (throwing the ball into the basket to score a point), rebounding (getting hold of the ball that has bounced off the rim or the backboard), pivoting (stepping in another direction with the same foot while retaining the other one in the initial position).

The main positions of basketball players are center, forward and guard.
Offensive center has to be open to receive a pass, shooting soon after that. These players are expected to block defenders and open up other teammates, allowing them to drive the ball to the basket. Defensive center is responsible for blocking passes or shots in the key area. He is usually taller than the rest players on the team.
Offensive forward is responsible for getting a pass from another player, rebound or drive for the basket. Defensive forward has to prevent the point from being scored, and rebound, when necessary.
Offensive guards are usually shorter than other players on the team, and are required to be good at fast dribbling and making effective and exact passes. They are also good shooters. Defensive guards steal passes, box out and prevent other players from scoring points.

The game and scoring

Michael Jordan at Boston Garden
Michael Jordan at Boston Garden

The game begins in the center of the court with referee tossing the ball between the players from both teams. The tip-off follows, when the player, who manages to take the ball into possession, passes it to the player from the same team. Another way the team can get hold of the ball is if the rival team commits a foul or violates certain rules. The number of substitutions is not limited; however, these are allowed while the game time is stopped.
Two points are awarded, if the shooter throws the ball from a different position and misses because of the foul. If the player is fouled, and was not going to shoot at that moment, the ball passes to his team; the ball is passed at the nearest side of the baseline, and they have to throw it onto the court within 5 seconds.
When the offence team player manages to throw the ball through the hoop, the team is awarded two points, and the ball has to be passed to the other team. It is also important from where the shot is made, as the team is awarded 3 points if the player shooting the ball is situated outside of the three-point arc. The team can also be given a number of free throws, depending on the fouls accumulated during half the game.

 Fouls

There are a number of personal fouls, such as pushing, slapping, hitting or holding the other player. In the situation when the player shooting the ball from the three-point position is fouled, and this results in him missing the shot, his team can be awarded three free shots. If he manages to score anyway, one free shot is awarded.

If the team accumulates 7+ fouls, and commits one more, the player who was fouled is awarded 1 free shot; if he gets the ball into the basket, one more shot is given. In case the team has accumulated 10+ fouls, and commits another one, two free throws are awarded to the opposite team.

Fouls, such as charging (pushing or running over the player), blocking, fragrant fouls (violent physical actions taken against the player, such as hitting, punching or kicking), intentional fouls (physical contact that demonstrates no intention of the player committing it to gain possession of the ball) can be punished with free throws given to the opposite team, or be subject to a judgement call. Another kind of foul that can take place is technical foul. It includes any acts of obscenity, using foul language, arguing, even dunking while the warm-up is in progress.

Violations

Among the violations there are double dribbling (using two hands to dribble or picking up the dribble to dribble it again); walking (making more than 1,5 steps without dribbling the ball); carrying or palming (when dribbling is performed with the hand under the ball or far to the side of it); goaltending (interfering with a ball that is on its way down to the basket); backcourt violation (going back across the mid-court line during possession of the ball once it was crossed), and not keeping within the time limits.