Basketball courts have specially designed floors that provide traction while still allowing athletes some ability to slide. Typically, keeping the floors clean and free of debris is sufficient for safety. An effective approach is to create a safety checklist to use before every training session or game. In addition to ensuring backboards, nets and rims are sound and in operating condition, check the floors carefully for hazards to minimize slipperiness.
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Wet spots might not be easy to see, but they can cause serious slips and falls. Check the court surface for wet spots after liquid spills or after using cleaning products. Allow the court to air dry or use dry towels to wipe the floor dry. Note that perspiration can make a gym floor slippery. After sweaty athletes take a tumble, check the area for moisture.
Dirt, dust, sand, gravel and other loose substances can make a gym floor slippery. Check the floor for debris before letting athletes take to the court. Sweep the playing area daily to prevent dust build-up, and follow the flooring manufacturer’s directions for maintenance and polishing.
Check the areas surrounding the court frequently for wet spots and debris. During a typical basketball game, it’s common for players to run out of bounds to decelerate. Slippery areas outside the court thus can be as hazardous as the playing surface itself. Pay special attention to high-traffic areas, such as paths to the locker rooms and exits.
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If the gym floor is clean and dry, but remains slippery, contact the floor’s manufacturer or a qualified flooring professional. There might be an issue with the floor’s construction or your maintenance methods. For example, wood floors must be treated annually, which typically involves sanding and resealing the floor with a water-based sealant, according to the book “Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities,” by the National Forum on Education Statistics. Similarly, vinyl composition tile floors, also called VCT floors, must be stripped and waxed periodically. Finally, certain types of synthetic surfaces, including VCT floors, might need monthly cleaning and scrubbing with special polishing equipment to keep them tacky.
Wearing proper footwear is as important for preventing falls as maintaining gym floors. Athletes should always wear sneakers that are designed for the sport they are playing and that also maintain good traction without damaging the gym floor. Typically, basketball sneakers, which have rubber soles, work well.