• Basketball is second in terms of concussion rate for youth sports.
  • In the past ten years, head injuries in basketball have increased 70%.
  • Over half of youth concussions may go unreported.
  • 53% of high school athletes admit that they would play despite a headache stemming from a head injury.

Concussions in Basketball

  • Basketball players can get mild traumatic brain injuries when:
    • Colliding with another player, such as a block/charge or hard foul.
    • Hitting the floor for a loose ball.
    • Contact with the ball or another piece of equipment.
  • A head injury can occur even if the contact is not directly to the head. Impulsive force can be transmitted to the head from impact to another part of the body.

Concussion Symptoms

  • Athletes with concussion symptoms should stop playing or practicing.
    • Do not return to the game or play later in the tournament.
Physical Mental Emotional
·  General Confusion

·  Loss of Consciousness

·  Short-Term Memory Loss from Before or After the Injury

·  Slow Reaction Time

·  Weak Concentration

·  Greater Fatigue than Usual

·  Headaches

·  Decreased Playing Ability

·  Dizziness

·  Irregular Sleep Habits

·  Poor Co-ordination or Balance

·  Vision Trouble

·  Vomiting or Nausea

·  Anxiety

·  Depression

·  Irritability

·  Moodiness

·  Sudden Change of Emotion or Inappropriate Emotions

  • Worsening symptoms – including seizures – indicate more serious head injury or bleeding in the brain.
  • Consult a doctor or visit emergency room if unsure about the diagnosis.
  • Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

Multiple Concussions

  • High school players who sustained a concussion were three times more likely to have a second (Brayley & Levine, 2015) head injury during the same season
  • Second-impact syndrome (two head injuries in a short time, even if they are not high impact) can cause severe injury or death.

Recovery Timeline

  • Athletes must progress through a series of steps symptom-free before they can resume contact sports.
  • High school players must return to the classroom without symptoms before returning to the basketball court.
  • After a concussion, follow an organized return to play protocol, spending one day on each step.
Step Description
  • Complete Rest
  • No School, Physical Activity and Computer Use
  • Light Aerobic Exercise
  • No Weight Lifting
  • Sport-Specific Activity
  • No Body Contact or Jarring Motions
  • Non-Contact Drills
  • Drills with Body Contact
  • Return to Competition


  • If symptoms recur, return to the previous step.
  • Gradually increase the duration and intensity of the activity as the athlete recovers.
  • Consult a physician if symptoms return at a later stage.

Most Importantly

  • Protect yourself: learn about concussions, monitor how you feel and advocate for yourself.
  • Players must speak up for themselves.

Works Cited