The objective was to determine national patterns of basketball-related injuries treated in emergency departments in the United States among children and adolescents <20 years of age.


A retrospective analysis was conducted with data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, from 1997 to 2007. Sample weights provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission were used to calculate national estimates of basketball-related injuries. Trend significance of the numbers and rates of basketball-related injuries over time was analyzed by using linear regression.


An estimated 4 128 852 pediatric basketball-related injuries were treated in emergency departments. Although the total number of injuries decreased during the study period, the number of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) increased by 70%. The most common injury was a strain or sprain to the lower extremities (30.3%), especially the ankle (23.8%). Boys were more likely to sustain lacerations and fractures or dislocations. Girls were more likely to sustain TBIs and to injure the knee. Older children (15–19 years of age) were 3 times more likely to injure the lower extremities. Younger children (5–10 years of age) were more likely to injure the upper extremities and to sustain TBIs and fractures or dislocations.


Although the total number of basketball-related injuries decreased during the 11-year study period, the large number of injuries in this popular sport is cause for concern.

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