Know the score on injury prevention before you step onto the netball court

Netball may trace its roots to a gentler version of basketball for schoolgirls, but it has evolved into a fast-paced and demanding game that is now a recognised Olympic sport. Like basketballers, netball players are prone to injuries if they do not take the time to warm up and adopt the correct postures during play.

“The most common injuries that occur among netball players are ankle sprains, as well as knee and hand injuries. Surgery is often required for the more serious injuries, followed by weeks of physiotherapy and rehabilitation,” said Ms Suelyn Chan, Principal Physiotherapist, Department of Physiotherapy, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group. She added that the rate of injury in netball is 14 injuries for every 1,000 hours played.

Before playing netb​all for the first time, would-be players should go for a health screening by a physician or physiotherapist to identify potential musculoskeletal problems which could lead to future injuries. An understanding of your body’s limitations will ensure a long and fruitful sporting career with minimal injuries.

Warm up and cool down

Before stepping onto the court, reduce the chance of injury by warming up properly. Not doing so raises the risk of injury by an alarming 48 per cent.

Try some aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging or cycling for five to 10 minutes. Stretching is also important, so be sure to move the limbs through a range of motions.

Lastly, a good warm-up is necessary for the areas of the body that will come under pressure during the game. Sport-specific exercises include short sprints, shuttle runs, endurance, agility and shooting drills, and defensive exercises with a partner.

After every game, it is important ​to cool down in the right way. Do some low-intensity exercise and static stretching, holding stretches for 30 seconds to improve the mobility and range of movements so that the body recovers from its exertions.

See the next page for tips on buying netball gear and playing netball​.​

Ref: V10