Descriptive epidemiology of collegiate men's basketball injuries: National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System, 1988-1989 through 2003-2004

J Athl Train. 2007 Apr-Jun;42(2):194-201.


Objective: To review 16 years of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) injury surveillance data for men's basketball and identify potential areas for injury prevention initiatives.

Background: Collegiate men's basketball is a contact sport in which numerous anatomical structures are susceptible to both acute and overuse injuries. To date, no comprehensive reporting of injury patterns in NCAA men's basketball has been published.

Main results: The overall rate of injury was 9.9 per 1000 athlete-exposures for games and 4.3 per 1000 athlete-exposures for practices. Approximately 60% of all injuries were to the lower extremity, with ankle ligament sprains being the most common injury overall and knee internal derangements being the most common injury causing athletes to miss more than 10 days of participation. A trend of increasing incidence of injuries to the head and face was noted over the 16-year span of the study, which may be related to an observed increase in physical contact in men's basketball over the past 2 decades.

Recommendations: These results provide the most comprehensive description of injury patterns in NCAA men's basketball to date. Many of the most common injuries seen in men's basketball, such as ankle ligament sprains and knee internal derangements, may be at least partially preventable with interventions such as taping and bracing and neuromuscular training. However, randomized controlled trials assessing the efficacy of such preventive measures among collegiate men's basketball players are clearly lacking. The increase in head and facial injuries may indicate that officials need to assess the increased tolerance for physical contact in men's basketball seen over the past 2 decades.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Basketball / injuries*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology