Basketball season is in full swing in Michigan. As basketball players of all levels and ages enter the last half of their season, they must continue to prepare their bodies to avoid or manage injuries. Ascension Michigan Sports Medicine doctors and care teams specialize in caring for sports-related injuries.
Brock Hardin, MD, sports medicine doctor at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, spends a lot of time working the sidelines at Division 1 college sports, professional and high school basketball games and is a certified ringside physician for boxing, mixed martial arts and wrestling.
"As a physician on the sideline, we help evaluate head injuries and determine whether people are safe to return to play or if there's a true concussion that needs to be evaluated and managed," he said. Dr. Brock also treats wounds that need to be sutured or stitched and does ultrasound evaluations which have become a popular tool in sports medicine. "We can evaluate fractures and ligament tears and things like that, which is key whenever you're looking at more mild injuries," he said.
Here are his tips for preparing your body for basketball season and game days to help prevent injuries.
1. Conditioning your body helps with prevention
Ankle sprains are the most common injuries he sees in basketball players, but the injuries that can end your season include knee injuries, medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprains, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and knee pain. Conditioning helps limit common injuries players experience on the court, but it starts pre-season. It's crucial to do training before the season even starts to prepare the tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones, and nerves, to be optimized for the rigors of the basketball court.
Work on the lower half of your body by warming up. Studies show that doing a little bit of stretching before you start a game can reduce your chance of injury. Stretches that you should include in your warm-up routine include quadricep, band and calf stretches.
2. Rest your body when possible
It’s ideal to rest for 48 hours after an intense game, to allow your muscles to reset from the rigors they've just gone through. Unfortunately, college basketball players often have multiple weekly and sometimes back-to-back games. That's not an ideal situation for recovery, but rest when and for as long as you can.
3. Get physical therapy to work through past injuries
If you have experienced an injury in the past, it's important to get those areas ready for game day. Past injuries can cause inflexibility and muscular imbalance in an arm or leg. Physical therapy and strengthening can improve this. Ascension Michigan Sports Medicine has performance specialists who know the techniques needed to get your body in shape for your particular sport’s season.
4. Get personalized care for injuries
If an injury occurs, it is important to find a sports medicine doctor and care team who will develop a personalized treatment plan. Find a doctor to help you gradually get back to basketball and reduce your risk of re-injury.
When you choose Ascension Michigan for sports medicine and orthopedic care, you are connected to highly experienced specialists and surgeons ready to work with you and deliver the care you need, from minimally invasive surgeries that can mean shorter recovery time to physical therapy.
Learn more about sports injury care at Ascension Michigan by visiting ascension.org/SportsMedMI.