By: Dr. Alfred Atanda, MD.
For all of you college basketball fans out there, the month we have all been waiting for is here. Selection Sunday is behind us and we can all get our family/work brackets together to prepare for an exciting three weeks of elite level college basketball. For those of us in healthcare, we won’t just stay tuned for big upsets, we will also be looking out for the big injuries that may turn heads on the court and on national TV. All sports have their most common injuries, and basketball is no different. So what painful moments might we see this March as we keep our eyes glued to top-tier hoops?
#1 Ankle sprains – There are a lot of big bodies flying through the air during a college basketball game. And as we know, what goes up must come down. Players often land awkwardly on each other’s feet or on the court, causing ankles to roll awkwardly.
#2 Knee sprains – There are a lot of sudden, sharp lateral movements while dribbling and defending which can make a player’s knees buckle or give way. Knees can also be injured when landing from a jump shot, dunk, or rebound.
#3 Finger injuries – Players are constantly reaching, lunging, and grabbing for the ball which can lead to jammed, dislocated, or broken fingers. These injuries can occur when fingers come in contact with the ball, another player, the rim/backboard, or the court surface.
#4 Lacerations – Players are often battling and grappling with each other when trying to grab a rebound or get a hold of a loose ball. Fingernails often can scratch the arms, legs, neck, and faces of opposing players in the heat of fighting for the ball.
#5 Concussions – This is a very hot topic and common injury in a lot of sports, with basketball being no exception. Players can be hit in the head/face with the ball, the elbow/knee of an opposing player, or the court surface during a fall.
College basketball players are physically large but they are still relatively young. In addition to the thrill factor, March Madness is also a great opportunity to talk to high-school athletes and others about on-the-court safety and injury prevention, as well as what to do when an injury occurs. Enjoy the games!