Basketball: Is it really a non-contact sport?

Basketball is apparently a non-contact sport, although I beg to differ.

On Monday night I played a game of men’s open-age basketball at Kilsyth Basketball Stadium. Well I didn’t actually play a full game; I played about 10 minutes before being rushed to the dentist and hospital. Four teeth knocked out of place, a concussion, a hell of a lot of blood, and a hefty dint in mum’s wallet.

I was playing defence, straight up as always, and braced myself for an offensive foul. The bloke charging at me was fairly well built, approximately 30 years old and 90kg’s, and his elbow went straight into my teeth. Next thing I know I am on the ground, blood suddenly pouring out of my mouth. I immediately felt my teeth to ensure they were intact and am stunned to discover several wobbly teeth and four to six displaced.

All those years with braces and a plate stood for nothing as I spat the blood from my mouth into a garbage bin. Now for those of you who have played at Kilsyth, you will believe me when I tell you he was not suspended, nor was a foul called! But what is more shocking, as I hurried from the court with blood pouring from my mouth, the only comment the referee made was “cover your mouth, make sure you don’t spill any on the court”.

Now this infuriated me. I have played basketball for 13 years now, and have never once been called for a technical foul, although if there wasn’t so much blood in my mouth, I would’ve said every possible swear word you could think of in the English dictionary. Seeing someone injured is always concerning, and it baffles me that a person can react in such an unconcerned way.

I have no hard feelings for the player who put me in hospital, although I have genuine concern for our society when we have people like that referee in our world, and particularly the sporting world. I have been a basketball referee for several years now, and I can not even begin to comprehend how a ref can have such little compassion for an injured player.

I understand we all make mistakes, and not calling the foul is a mistake I will forgive, although the way in which she reacted is unforgiving, and it is a real concern for domestic basketball. I am unsure of the outcomes of this unfortunate event, although one thing’s for certain; from now on I will be wearing a mouth guard in all sporting events, even if they are considered ‘non-contact’.

Blake Gray

Scroll down for image post-dentist

3 hours after the incident

(Click image to enlarge)


2 thoughts on “Basketball: Is it really a non-contact sport?

  1. Oh buddy I am feeling your pain. I am SO SO SO angry with Kilsyth at the moment. I am the coach of an under 16 team one of my boys got a deliberate elbow to the nose which did in fact break his nose, it may yet require surgery, they have to wait until the swelling goes down. At this stage we have been lied to and the matter has been dealt with very poorly. We are in the process of making formal complaints to the VBA and to the club. I have no illusions about the club, the ref and ref supervisor did not seem too concerned at all. The parent of my injured player was thrown the blood bucket and gestured to clean up the blood. At no point did any ref, supervisor or the player who hurt my boy ask how he was or show any real concern. I am disgusted to hear that this has happened to someone else. Thinking of you mate and I hope your mouth heals soon…
    I would take matters further if I were you. Contact the VBA. Kilsyth need to take responsibility for what goes on….

  2. Shocking to hear that this has happened to others, although I am not surprised.
    This injury occurred August last year, so it has healed after several thousands of dollars on dental work.
    To make matters worse, the insurance claim through the association only covers $1000.
    Good luck to your boys for the rest of the season and with the complaints, and I hope the injured player recovers quickly.


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