Changes in injury type among NBA Athletes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Publication date: Jan 26, 2024

The 2019-2020 NBA season was altered significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic with a midseason suspension of games, the NBA ‘bubble’ tournament, and a shortened offseason. Concerns were raised regarding player conditioning and the potential increased risk of injury due to the schedule changes. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated schedule changes on NBA injuries. It was hypothesized that injury rates would be higher in the year following the pandemic and teams who participated in the bubble would have higher injury rates in the following season than non-bubble teams. Furthermore, the types of injuries would shift toward more severe injuries in the condensed 2019-20 season and the following 2020-21 season. Retrospective Cohort Study. The NBA’s public injury reports were queried to identify players listed on an injury report. Standardized injury events were calculated for four pre-COVID-19 seasons (2015-2019), the COVID-19 season (2019-2020), and the post-COVID-19 season (2020-2021). Injury characteristics including type and location were extracted for each year and differences within each period were calculated. When excluding injury events related to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the overall injury events per 1000 exposures were not significantly different between time periods of pre-COVID-19, COVID-19, and post-COVID-19 seasons ;(p = 0. 199), and no difference was found in the rates of teams who participated in the bubble. Injuries, including soreness and strains, significantly decreased while fracture injuries significantly increased in the COVID-19 year. The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increased number of games missed, but no increase in injury rates when accounting for health and safety protocols. Additionally, bubble participation had no impact on injury rates. However, despite no changes in injury rates, the types of injuries changed with an increased proportion of severe injuries and decreased proportion of minor injuries.

Concepts Keywords
Accounting Athlete injuries
Nba Basketball
Soreness COVID-19
Tournament Injury patterns


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
disease VO report
disease VO time

Original Article

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