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    Basketball Concussion Education & Resource Centre

    Concussions can occur while participating in any sport or recreational activity. Since the circumstances under which a concussion can be sustained are so varied, it’s important for all coaches, parents, and athletes to be aware of the signs, symptoms, and what to do if a concussion occurs. Basketball Manitoba is committed to increased education, awareness, and established protocols that will assist you in gaining the knowledge and skills required ensuring the safety of your athletes. We can all work together to ensure a safe sport environment.

    Concussion prevention, recognition and management requires athletes to follow the rules and regulations of their sport, respect their opponents, avoid head contact, and report suspected concussions.  Concussions are not just an issue in hockey and football.  In basketball, they may occur while falling to the floor, during a collision of players, by an arm or elbow to the head or other causes.

    A concussion is a serious event, but you can recover fully from such an injury if the brain is given enough time to rest and recuperate. Returning to normal activities, including sport participation, is a step-wise process that requires patience, attention, and caution.


    As a player, you have a role on the court to ensure your teammates and opponents have a safe playing environment so we can all enjoy the sport of basketball.  As a player, the following tips are to be followed while playing basketball in a game or practice environment…

    • UNDERCUTTING. When defending a player on the floor who is driving to the basket on a shot or in the air rebounding, do not undercut a player as this is probably the riskiest move in the game that may lead to serious injuries, including head injuries.  All airborne players have the right to land on the floor without another player impeding that space.  
    • BLOCKING OUT. When blocking a player out while on defense, you still need to allow an opportunity for an opponent to safely land on the floor.  Undercutting any player on the floor for any reason is not an acceptable part of the game.  
    • REBOUNDING. When rebounding the ball on offense or defense, refrain from any excessive swinging of the elbows.  While in the key/restricted area, there are a lot of other players around you and a blow to the head by an elbow may lead to a serious concussion to a teammate or opponent. Video Example 1 | Video Example 2 | Video Example 3
    • CLOSEOUTS. When defending another player, properly 'close out' to contest the shot, but still allow the shooter some safe distance to land on the floor.  Poor closeouts can lead to serious injuries including a concussion if the player hits the floor with his/her head. Video Example 1 | Video Example 2
    • SCREENING. When screening another player, keep your elbows within your own “body cylinder”.  Grab your wrist with the other hand and cover your groin area then  press your elbows to your hips.  You may also make two fists and hold them in front of your groin area and press your elbows to your hips.  Letting your elbows point out can lead to a defender running at full speed into your elbow unaware and lead to serious injuries including a concussion.  
    • SQUARING UP.  When catching the ball and wanting to square up to the basket, be aware that a defender may crowd the space in front of you.  You should not lead with your elbows or try to deter close defense by sweeping your elbows at the defenders head.  You can sweep the ball high, low or close to your body if you want to move the ball from one side of your body to the other, as long as you keep your elbows inside your personal space cylinder. 
    • DEFENSE.  When defending a player with the ball, don’t set yourself up for an elbow to the head by overcrowding the space right in front of him/her.  They may ‘rip’ the ball from side to side within their “cylinder”.  Try to maintain an arm’s length gap while defending a live dribble and half an arm’s length while tracing a dead ball using your arms, bent at the elbows at 90 degrees, as a cushion in between your head and the opposing player with the ball. 
    • UP AND UNDER MOVES.  When using up and under moves (moves that include a shot fake and then sweeping the ball to the other side of the body near head height), be mindful that the defender may be caught out of position or in the air with extra momentum.  Try not to lead with your elbows as the defender is out of balance and position to adjust their body and protect themselves.  “Up and under” moves increase the speed that an out of position defender may catch an elbow that can lead to serious injury or concussion.
    • HONESTY. Be honest with yourself, your parents and your coach if and when you were to be suspected of sustaining a concussion.  No game, no matter how big or small, is worth risking your long term health and well being.  Help make basketball a sport for life for everyone!


    STEP 1. Pre-season Concussion Education Sheet
    A document that a coach can use during their pre-season meeting with all parents and players on their team to discuss what a concussion is and how the team will manage suspected concussions sustained in the program.  (includes Return to School and Return to Sport Strategy)

    STEP 2. Concussion Recognition Tool “Recognize & Remove”
    Head impacts can be associated with serious and potentially fatal brain injuries. The Concussion Recognition Tool 5 is to be used for the identification of suspected concussion. It is not designed to diagnose a concussion.

    STEP 3. Medical Assessment Tool
    This document can be used by an athlete’s Physician or Nurse Practitioner as the official “Medical Assessment Tool” when dealing with a suspected concussion.

    STEP 4. Basketball Manitoba Youth Concussion Protocol
    This detailed step by step document that walks a player through the different recovery steps including basketball related examples a coach can use to slowly return a player to full activity.  More "Return to Play" Protocol...

    STEP 5. Medical Clearance Letter
    Athletes who are diagnosed with a concussion should be managed according to the Canadian Guideline on Concussion in Sport including the Return-to-School and Return-to-Sport Strategies. No athlete that has been diagnosed and is being treated for a concussion can be “returned to play” without presenting this signed Medical Clearance Letter to their head coach.

    All of this information can also be found on the Basketball Manitoba Scoreboard app in the 'Concussions' section.  Get the free app to have this information with you court side at all games and practices! 

    50+ Page Detailed Guidelines

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    Item Reviewed: Basketball Concussion Education & Resource Centre Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Adam Wedlake
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