Concussions in basketball are more prevalent than students realize


Mimi Geller

Junior Izzy Denny shoots a basketball at the Dec. 20 game against Nova Classical Academy. “I haven’t seen as many concussions in basketball as I have heard about for soccer or other sports like that,” Denny said.

Emily Thissen, RubicOnline Editor

Hockey players are equipped with padding. Skiers wear protective helmets. And, while students can still get concussions while wearing all of their gear, there are clear steps taken to prevent the common head injury. But what about in sports like basketball? The players have no kind of head protection (or any other protections for that matter) against the possibility of a concussion, an injury that could potentially have lasting effects. It may seem like basketball players are less susceptible to concussions, but that is not the case.

All contact sports pose the threat of a concussion, and basketball is not an exception. The possibility of hitting one’s head against the floor or getting slammed in the head with a basketball is high. Studies show that basketball related head injuries have risen by 70% within a 10 year period (1997-2007). This can be partially attributed to more awareness about concussions, leading people to get checked out sooner.

For freshman Audrey Egly and junior Izzy Denny, both members of the girls basketball team, getting hit in the head with a ball was partially to blame for their concussions.

“I have just had the one I got about two weeks ago from basketball and at first I just got hit in the face with a ball but then about 10 minutes later I got elbowed in the back of my head,” Denny said.

Egly had a similar situation for her first concussion.

“My first one was during practice and we were playing 4 on 4 and my coach was passing to a girl behind me and I faked a cut and I came back up and the ball hit me straight in the face and this was my coach so the pass was super hard,” Egly said.

“It was really bad but I thought I was fine and could keep playing and everyone made me sit down and I got ice for my head and took the test and it was a pretty bad concussion.”

For students who are suspected to have a concussion, on site tests are usually given, as well as sitting down the take the Impact concussion test. All St. Paul Academy and Summit School athletes who play contact sports are required to have a baseline test on record.

I haven’t seen as many concussions in basketball as I have heard about for soccer or other sports like that”

— junior Izzy Denny

Typically, for minor concussion, the protocol is that students may not return to physical activity until concussion symptoms are no longer present.

“I had to talk to the trainer Rachel the next day and she took me through a test like memory and balance and all that and then basically I wasn’t allowed to do any physical activity until as long as I still had symptoms,” Denny said.

Even for SPA basketball players who have suffered concussions, there is a belief that basketball concussions tend to be less common. According to Family Practice Notebook basketball is ranked in the same contact level (collision or contact sports) as football, soccer, and hockey. While the amount of contact varies within the category, the level of contact is there in all of the sports in the category.

“In basketball you’re not actively going to hit someone unless you get hit in the head with a ball but you normally shouldn’t get a concussion,” freshman Ethan Richman said. Richman has had one concussion from basketball.

Denny feels similarly about concussions from basketball.

“I haven’t seen as many concussions in basketball as I have heard about for soccer or other sports like that,” she said.

It is important to realize that despite the amount of concussions in sport like basketball, it is crucial to be careful and protect oneself by playing by the rules and avoiding dirty play. And if there is ever a possibility that a student has a concussion, it is important that they talk to a qualified professional to assess the severity.