Hoopfest is Back: Tips to Enjoy an Injury-Free Basketball Weekend
After two years of unavoidable cancellations, Hoopfest is finally returning to the streets of Downtown Spokane for the first time since 2019. We couldn’t be more pumped to welcome the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament on Earth back to our great city. The tournament the last weekend of June will bring thousands of players and hundreds of thousands of fans out to experience the action-packed game of basketball, as well as fantastic food, shopping, and entertainment.
While the fast-paced nature of basketball games is thrilling to watch, the speed and intensity of the sport can result in a wide range of injuries. With Hoopfest weekend just over three weeks away, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the most common injuries associated with the game. Most often, basketball injuries involve the joints, particularly ankles and knees. Don't be alarmed though - injuries can often be avoided with good preparation and preventive measures. Besides being exciting and competitive, basketball is great exercise and can have several health benefits. That being said, the most common injuries sustained by basketball players consist of ankle sprains, jammed or broken fingers, and ligament tears. While it is impossible to guarantee the avoidance of injury in any sport, with some preparation and training, you can decrease the risk of injury and continue to play to the best of your ability. Dr. Rob Stewart, a Sports Medicine Physician and Orthopedic Trauma Surgeon at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists, offers the following tips for athletes to enjoy an injury-free Hoopfest weekend. His understanding of common injuries and treatment makes basketball injury prevention an achievable goal.
Tips for Basketball Injury Prevention
Wear Appropriate Attire
- Players should wear basketball shoes that fit snugly, offer foot and ankle support, and are non-skid, as well as properly fitted, breathable clothing.
- Other protective equipment that can help reduce injuries includes protective knee pads, elbow pads, and a mouth guard.
- If you wear glasses, use non-shattering safety glasses or glass guards to protect your eyes.
- It's also important to not wear jewelry or chew gum during practice or games.
- Generally, players should drink 24 ounces of non-caffeinated fluid two hours before exercise, and another 8 ounces of water right before exercise. An 8 ounce cup of water every 20 minutes during exercise is also recommended. Ensure that you and your team have adequate access to water during your games.
- Without enough fluids, you can become dehydrated and your body will not be able to effectively cool itself through sweat and evaporation. This can cause your body to overheat and lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Even mild levels of dehydration can hurt athletic performance, and more seriously cause headache, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Waiting until you are thirsty is often too late to hydrate properly.
- Always take time to warm up before practice and games. Extensive research shows that cold muscles are more prone to injury. Five minutes of aerobic activity like jumping jacks, jogging, or walking, followed by a few minutes of stretching your muscles, will greatly reduce risk of injury.
- Warming up allows the body the time it needs to be able to respond to nerve signals for quick and efficient actions. This is especially necessary for basketball, as it involves quick, high-intensity actions.
Get Enough Rest
- Poor sleeping habits increase the risk of injuries to the upper and lower extremities. You should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night for proper rest and muscle recovery.
Maintain Good Fitness and Strength
- Injury rates are higher in athletes who have not sufficiently prepared physically. Incorporating a range of activities to your Hoopfest training, including aerobic conditioning, strength training, and agility training exercises can help with both improved performance and injury prevention.
- There are many exercises that athletes can incorporate right away to build strength, agility, and flexibility to help prevent injuries. They include Jumping Rope, Squat Lunges, Step Ups, Box Jumps, Squat Jumps, Medicine Ball Throws, and Cone Drills.
What to do When Injury Does Occur
Despite your best efforts for injury prevention, accidents still happen. In that case, know that you have the support of the bone, joint, and muscle experts at Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists. If you have a basketball-related injury, NWOS Sports Medicine physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, and physical therapists want to help. We'll speed up your recovery and restore function so you can get back on the court faster.
To learn more about preventing sports injuries or for more information about our services and specialties, contact us at 1-888-660-2663 or request an appointment.
You can also visit us at one of our NW Orthopaedic Express Walk-in clinics, located on North Division at the Y, on the South Hill on 57th, and in the Spokane Valley off Pines on Sinto, no appointment necessary. Click here for full Express hours and location information.