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24 September 2023

Facial injuries in the NBA


Background

Sport injuries can negatively impact physical and psychological aspects of athletes. There is a gap in the literature regarding facial trauma present in basketball.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to identify and describe facial trauma present in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Study design

This is a retrospective cohort study in which the sample (n=206) consists of players that suffered facial injuries in the NBA, the data was collected from a public access online resource.

Independent variables

The predictor variables were player position (center, point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward), team conference (Eastern/Western) and if played games occurred in playoff season.

Outcome variables

The primary outcome variable was the injury location (upper, middle, lower facial third), and the secondary outcome was type of injury (soft tissue/bone fracture).

Covariates

Player’s age, height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) were collected.

Analyses

Chi square and logistic regression were calculated to determine associations between predictor and outcome variables. Logistic regression was used to determine if variables were predictive for injury. Odds ratio (OR) were also computed for significant results. P-value less than 0.05 (95% confidence interval) was considered statistically significant.

Results

A total of 206 players suffered facial injuries, and a total of 212 injuries were quantified.

The mean age of the injured players was 27.24±4.06 years old, mean height (centimeters) was 201±59.31 cm, mean weight (kilograms) 99.48±12.41 kg, and BMI was 24.52±1.75 kg/m2. Of the 212 injuries, none of them occurred in the first facial third, 158 (75%) were in the middle third, and 54 (25%) in the lower third; 151 of them were fractures (61%) and 61 were soft tissue injuries (29%).

Most injuries were concentrated in centers (23%) and power forwards (23%).

The most common fracture occurred in the nasal bones (39.2%), and most soft tissue injuries occurred in the eye globes (25%). Almost all injuries occurred during regular season games (97%), and the Eastern conference was slightly predominant (52%).

Conclusion

Facial trauma in the NBA has risen in recent years. The player’s position, height and weight games were the primary factors associated to facial trauma in the NBA.

Jose S. Sifuentes-Cervantes et al. "Facial Injuries in the National Basketball Association." Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 14 September 2023. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joms.2023.09.009

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