Ankle sprain is the most common injury we see in young basketball players. It can lead to weeks if not months of rehabilitation and time off the court for a lot of the athletes. Preventing the injury from occurring would be the best intervention; here is a study that looks at balance as a predictor of ankle injuries in high school basketball players.
210 basketball players were recruited (119 male, 91 female), mean age = 16.1, They didn't have previous ankle or knee injury within the year and didn’t have any bracing or ankle taping during the season.
Participants stood on one leg with their eyes open and eyes closed for 3 sets of 10 seconds each for their left and right leg, giving a total of 12 trials. Their postural sway during the balance test was analysed by a special balance tool (NeuroCom New Balance). Their definition of postural sway is the average degrees of movement per second (°S/S), which is combined together from the 12 trials and presented as complete number.
Participants that sustained an ankle injury had a preseason postural sway score of 2.01 compared to those that DID NOT have an injury was 1.74.
The study points out that those with high sway scores (poor balance) had 7x more ankle injuries compared to those with low sway scores (good balance)
Balance exercises play an important role in ankle injury prevention among high school basketball players.
Timonthy et al. (2000). Balance as a predictor of ankle injuries in high school basketball players.