Basketball Coaching - Player Safety

Player Safety

Practical guide to player safety

"YOUTH" basketball is a safe team sport. But it is a sport and injuries can occur. Fortunately, there a some things you can do to protect the team and protect yourself as the coach.


-Have a plan for the season. Write it down
-Get adequate medical release forms and injury records. Keep them nearby during season.
-Have an emergency plan for your gym or basketball courts. Know where emergency phones are. Know how emergency vehicles will access building.
-Learn emergency procedures and First Aid. Coaches should take a CPR and First Aid courses. For a nearest Red Cross Center click here. -Always supervise practices and games closely
-Make sure to have a properly supplied first aid kit and inspect it regularly
-Ask parents if anyone is certified in CPR . If yes, see if they can attend practices and games. As a minimum, make sure there are always two adults at practice. Have a plan in advance, which coach will leave and which one will stay.
- Discuss your plan with coaches and parents. Inform parents of inherent risk of the sport at your team meeting.


More items to add to your prevention plan.
Emphasize proper skill development.
Make sure players warm up, stretch and cool down sufficiently
Match players up according to their ability and size.
Water. Make sure players stay hydrated.
Prepare (and keep) practice plans with properly planned drills and activities.


Ice (in a plastic bag)
Rubber gloves
Compression bandages
Antiseptic solution
Adhesive tape
Zip Lock Baggies- to secure any bloody bandages, band aids, ....
Small towel
Scissors - large, blunt ended Zip Lock Baggies- to secure any bloody bandages, band aids, ....
Two quarters taped to the inside for emergency phone.


When you see a player go down on the court, the first thing you want to do is remain calm. Next, immediately bring it to the referees attention so they can stop the game. If no ref, call a time out.

As you approach the injured player, observe his/her actions. If the player is flailing all over the place, most times he or she is not seriously injured. If the player is laying perfectly still, you might have a severe injury. CPR and First aid training will guide you here. If it is a serious injury, call emergency personnel and follow your emergency plan sequence from your First Aid Class. Do not move the player. This is especially important if they are complaining of neck or back pain. Wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive.

If it looks do be a minor injury, the next thing you want to do is calm down the injured player. A good way to do this is to ask the player to relax and breathe "in" through their nose and "out" through the mouth. Repeat several times. Most youth players will concentrate so much on the breathing and will forgot about the injury. If you think the player can stand ,ask him/her if they can stand up. If the player stands and appears to be fine, send them to go get a drink from the bench and observe how they walk. To be safe, give the player a break and get a substitute for them.

If the the player cannot put any pressure on your hand because it hurts their knee or ankle ASSUME THE INJURY IS SEVERE.
Immobilize the player which is avoiding any movement that causes pain.

Next perform the RICE method of injury care

Rest: Stay off of the injured area as much as possible.
Ice Therapy: apply ice packs to the injury. 10 to 20-minute intervals for 24 to 48 hours.
Compression: use a firm wrap or bandage (not too tight) around the injury.
Elevation: Raise the injured leg or arm to reduce swelling.

If the pain does not resolve itself after 1 to 2 weeks, see a physician. In the case of severe pain or swelling that does not recede within a few days, see a physician immediately.