Basketball points finger at girls with dangerous nails

Underage basketball chiefs are facing a new injury issue in the girls’ game — from long finger nails.

One of the country’s largest ladies boards, in Cork, says it has received “further complaints” about young players with long nails — both real and artificial — causing harm to other players on the court.

The board has already forwarded regulations from Europe’s governing body, FIBA, to clubs which allow referees to stop players with “excessively long nails playing in games”.

“The majority of complaints come from underage games where players can be over-committed to winning the ball,” the board advised clubs.

Cork Ladies Basketball chair George Meade confirmed referees have now been advised to apply the FIBA regulations on the issue and instruct a player to cut lengthy nails before they are allowed on the court. 

“It happened in my own club (Ballincollig) where a girl was not allowed on the court until she had cut her nails. She wasn’t happy because she had paid €55 to get them done.”

Meade added: “A lot of the problems arise when players complain of being scratched on the arm or the jaw, but it would be very serious if someone suffered an eye injury because of long fingernails.”

Basketball points finger at girls with dangerous nails

Clubs have been advised to include a scissors as part of their team medical kit to cut nails and to inform their players that they will not be allowed on court any longer with excessively long nails.

The FIBA rule (4.4.2) stipulates: “Players shall not wear equipment (objects) that may cause injury to other players. (Nor) objects that could cut or cause abrasions — fingernails must be closely cut.

“Plasters won’t suffice, because they keep falling off. Nails will have to be cut to an appropriate length or referees will not permit the girl in question on the court. Referees have brought it to the board’s attention that it is a growing issue in the girls’ game,” the Cork Board chair added.

In a note to clubs Meade said: “We are now enforcing fingernails as an object that may cause harm. It’s in the interest of all clubs that nails are closely cut, as failure to comply will result in players having to sit out games.

“This rule could impact greatly on underage teams who must have 10 players or forfeit the game. Coaches must inform their players of this rule.”


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