Basketball is a fast and rigorous game that requires coordination, explosive movement, and lightning-fast reflexes. As such, it is very easy for dedicated athletes to strain themselves when the game gets good and intense. And yet, we see these top-level NBA athletes performing at this level of intensity all the time, and they seem to have a relatively low injury rate when compared to most others. So, how do they do it? In this article, we will attempt to answer that question.
The Five Most Common Basketball Injuries
Before we look at prevention, we must look at the underlying causes of most basketball injuries. In general, these injuries come in one of five forms:
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Knee Injuries
- Hip And Thigh injuries
- Wrist and hand injuries
- Head and face injuries
Of these, ankle and foot sprains are by far the most common. Knee injuries are the next most common, although our study found that ligament injuries to this area were rare. There is a condition called patellofemoral syndrome, more commonly known as “jumper’s knee.” This condition results in chronic pain and inflammation centered around the general area of the knee.
The Importance Of Stretching
You have probably heard that proper stretching will reduce your risk of injury, as it is commonly used for this purpose. Let’s see if we can figure out how much a difference it really makes. When we dig into this issue, we find that the evidence is not 100% clear. Athletes and coaches throughout history have found that stretching reduces the risk of injury and helps with post-workout soreness. However, scientists have sometimes had a difficult time proving that fact.
Take this study, for instance. These researchers acknowledged that stretching made a difference in the flexibility of the test subjects, but they were unable to find a direct correlation between stretching and a reduced risk of injury. However, this study concluded the opposite. Why does this disparity exist?
The answer lies in this simple fact: Stretching prevents injury in an indirect way. Rather than directly reducing the risk of injury, stretching increases bodily flexibility, which then reduces the risk of overuse injuries. Just as the soft reed can bend with the wind and avoid breakage, so too can the flexible limb bend to prevent damage.
The Importance Of Hydration
There is a huge list of ways in which hydration can affect your performance and your risk of injury. Since we don’t have time to examine them all, let’s zero in on just a couple of these things.
Personal errors cause many injuries. In the heat of the contest, It is easy to stop thinking about the risk of injury as you strive to push yourself to the limit. In the process, it is easy to make errors in judgment that lead to injury. It might be as simple as placing the wrong foot in the wrong place at the wrong moment. Why does this matter in terms of hydration? Because dehydration reduces your brain’s ability to work and react properly. Even a mild case of dehydration can affect your judgment and make an injury more likely.
Dehydration is also one of the leading causes of muscle cramping. You see, hydration levels have a direct effect on blood flow, and blood flow has a direct effect on the ability of a muscle to resist cramping.
The Importance Of Regular Training
As Newton’s old law says, “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” Although he was talking about the workings of nature, these observations also apply to the human body. Have you ever noticed that active people tend to live longer? Well, it’s not just a trend but a proven scientific fact.
What this means is that you should beware of long breaks. When your body is engaging in regular strenuous activity, it will naturally adapt and become stronger (this fact is the basis of all strength training). If you then cease with your exercise, the body will regress to its earlier state. Then, if you try to get back into regular exercise again, your body will not be accustomed to this activity. Thus, anyone who is coming off a long period of recovery or inactivity would do well to take it easy at first.
The Importance Of Knowing When To Rest
Rest periods are also an essential factor for the avoidance of injury. Your muscles and bones can do a lot, but they can only do so much at one time. That is why the timing of rest periods is such a crucial factor.
There isn’t a whole lot of dedicated scientific research on the subject of rest periods in relation to injury rates. However, we did find this study. The conclusion is a little surprising because it shows that people don’t need to rest all that often in order to reduce their risk of injury. Researchers found that only a two-day break every 4-6 weeks was necessary to experience a reduced risk of injury.
Of course, it should be noted that this study was performed on professional athletes who had joined the circus as acrobats. Thus, these are not average individuals by any means. However, based on these results, you can be assured that one or two days per week is more than enough.
There is no reason to waste your time sitting on the bench, recovering from an injury. Basketball is a game that is well-suited for active and intense people, so the last thing you want to be is the guy on the sidelines.
We hope that this short article will be enough to show you that your injury rate is well within your control. As they say, prevention is the best medicine. If we have helped you to keep yourself on the court and out of the doctor’s office, we hope that you will follow us on Facebook using the button below.