Basketball Safety Rules – How to Prevent Injury

Basketball is one of the most popular sports among school children and young adults alike. However, the sport is associated with a high risk of injury as it involves aggressive activity and physical battles. Incidents of basketball players being admitted to the hospital’s emergency departments due to serious basketball injuries are pretty common and take place from time to time.

Common basketball injuries include ankle sprains and others that could have been prevented if the basketball player had followed the safety rules properly, played in a safe environment, or trained and conditioned suitably. Most widespread basketball injuries occur to the knee and the ankle, while eye injuries may also happen due to hits with elbows or fingers.

Around 200,000 basketball-related injuries are faced by kids under age 15 each year, and some of these require emergency treatment in hospitals. In fact, basketball is the fourth leading cause of injury in both unorganized and organized sports communities.

In order to play safe and avoid any basketball injury, let’s look into the safety rules in basketball. Here, we will help you understand these basketball safety rules and also give you some safety tips to prevent any risk of injury.

safety rules in basketball

What are the Safety Rules in Basketball?

When it comes to basketball player safety while playing the sport, there are several safety rules that everyone needs to follow on the court. Some of the most important ones include the following:

  • Elbows – Players should not swing their elbows while trying to secure the ball, especially when they have gathered a rebound. If a player contacts an opponent with the elbow, they may commit a foul. However, if the referee feels that the player swung his elbow recklessly or with an intention to cause basketball injury, it may also result in a blatant foul. The player may be suspended or asked to leave the court depending on the severity and force of the blow.
  • Vulnerable players and positions – Players who are up in the air while rebounding or shooting cannot defend themselves, due to which this position is considered to be in a vulnerable situation. Therefore, other players are not allowed to foul or hit any vulnerable player. If the referee feels that the player was trying to injure or hurt the vulnerable player, the referee can evict that player from the court.
  • No jewelry – No basketball player is allowed to wear any earrings, wrist jewelry, or neck jewelry on the basketball court since such accessories can cause injuries to other players during the game. If a player enters the court with any kind of jewelry or accessory, the referee will instruct him to remove it.
  • Condition of the court – The basketball court must be dry and there should be no obstacles on the court or around it. The players may gain momentum during the game and may get carried off the court.
  • First-aid kit – There should be a fully-equipped first-aid kit near the court, and at least one person should be there who is trained in first aid.

Additional safety tips

  • The backboards should be strong enough to tolerate pressure from the players or the ball.
  • The players must warm up before the game.
  • When playing outside, make sure that the ground is free of stones, gravels and free from injury-causing elements.
  • Make sure that you wear ankle support to reduce ankle injury, which is very common in basketball.
  • Protective knees and elbow pads are necessary.

What are the Most Common Basketball Injuries and How to Prevent Them?

basketball safety rules

Let’s take a look at some of the most common basketball injuries that a basketball player may face and how to prevent them.

Hip and Thigh Injuries: Extra strain is placed on the players’ hips and legs while jumping, running, rebounding, and pivoting. Bruises and hip strains can occur when the player hits the court or over-extends ligaments and muscles. Although such injuries cannot be prevented, strength training and stretching are good ways to make the tendons and muscles more flexible. Stretching the hips before entering the court can warm them up and prevent basketball injury.

Knee Injuries: Knee injuries like strains and sprains are common in basketball. However, you can support your knees and prevent knee injury by strengthening your leg muscles. Stretching before playing and getting a knee brace are smart ideas to build support.

Foot and Ankle Injuries: Foot and ankle injuries are by far the most common during the basketball season. Rolling of the ankle, getting hit by a ball, or any other such accident may leave the player in pain. To prevent such injuries, the players are advised to wear indoor basketball shoes to prevent slipping and get more ankle support. They may also use athletic tape to tape up their ankle and prevent any ankle injuries.

How to Prepare for Play Properly?

Before hitting the basketball court, it is important to activate the body, connect mind and body, and prime the body to play. Here are a few techniques for some effective pre-game preparation.

Get the Right Gear: Wear the right footwear, and get a custom-fitted mouthguard for basketball injury prevention. Speak to a physical therapist for appropriate protective gear and bracing.

Hydrate and Eat Right: Eat food that provides enough energy to play at the peak. A typical diet will be high in carbs and low in fat. Avoid unhealthy and junk foods to stay energized. Consuming lots of water and staying hydrated is also crucial to keep the basketball player in the best position of success.

Warm Up and stretching: The player must warm up his body by lightly jogging around the court or performing some basketball drills. Jump shots, layups, and two-ball dribble sequences not only warm up the body but also improve the player’s gameplay.

Practice Breathing Exercises: One of the best ways to keep calm during a timeout or quick break is to close the eyes and take deep breaths for around ten seconds. Breathing techniques will set pressure from the muscles aside and calm the nerves.

Some Tips for Basketball Safety

Get Sufficient Rest: It is crucial to take sufficient rest at night before the game. Only then the players can stay alert, focus on the game, and perform at their peak capability.

Do Some Stretching: Proper stretching exercises prepare the player’s body for the game. Stretch the muscles to make them loose, which will prevent basketball injuries to the calves, hamstrings, lower back, shoulders, groin, and hips.

Hydrate: Drinking enough water prevents fatigue, improves decision-making abilities, and prevents cramping.

Strength Training and Flexibility: Lateral lunges, glute bridges, leg curls, lateral bounds, Romanian deadlifts, alternating dumbbell presses, Goblet squats, pull-ups, single-leg hurdle hops, and medicine ball squat to press are some of the great exercises to build strength and improve flexibility. These improve lateral quickness and reduce the risk of injury.


Here, we have discussed important tips on how to prevent injuries in basketball and a few important basketball safety rules. These will prepare the players for the game and directly influence their performance on the court. These effective safety rules and tips suggested by sports medicine specialists will ensure success for the team while avoiding any basketball injury.