Basketball and Volleyball

Acute and overuse injuries are common in jumping sports like basketball and volleyball. Acute injuries include bruises (contusions); cuts and scrapes (lacerations); ankle, knee, or finger sprains or fractures; shoulder dislocations; eye injuries; and concussions. Overuse injuries include patellar tendonitis (also called jumper’s knee) or Osgood-Schlatter disease, spondylolysis (stress fracture of the spine), rotator cuff tendinopathy, stress fractures, and shin splints.


The following is information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about how to prevent basketball and volleyball injuries. Also included is an overview of common basketball and volleyball injuries.


Injury prevention and safety tips

Sports physical exam. Athletes should have a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE) to make sure they are ready to safely begin the sport. The best time for a PPE is about 4 to 6 weeks before the beginning of the season. Athletes also should see their doctors for regular health well-child checkups.

Fitness. Athletes should maintain a good fitness level during the season and off-season. Preseason training should allow time for general conditioning and sport-specific conditioning. Also important are proper warm-up and cool-down exercises.

Technique. Athletes should learn and practice safe techniques for performing the skills that are integral to their sport. Athletes should work with coaches and athletic trainers on achieving proper technique.

Equipment. Safety gear should fit properly and be well maintained.

Shoes should be in good condition, appropriate for the surface and laces tied.

Ankle braces or tape applied by a certified athletic trainer can prevent or reduce the frequency of ankle sprains.

Knee pads have been shown to reduce knee abrasions and contusions (bruises).

Buddy tape (tape around the injured finger and the one beside it) can prevent reinjury to an injured finger. X-rays should be obtained in all “jammed” fingers.

Mouth guards prevent dental injuries.

Protective eyewear. Glasses or goggles should be made with polycarbonate or a similar material. The material should conform to the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Environment. A safe playing area is clean and clear. Goalposts should be padded.

Emergency plan. Teams should develop and practice an emergency plan so that team members know their roles in emergency situations. The plan would include first aid and emergency contact information. All members of the team should receive a written copy each season. Parents also should be familiar with the plan and review it with their children.


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