Evolution of the Dura Slam 2000 and what was learned about basketball net dental injuries

September 16, 1996 Dental News



By Cec Ellsworth

An unusual basketball net related dental injury was the focus of an Oct. 4, 1993 issue of The ADA News. A recently completed study for the Academy for Sports Dentistry sheds some significant new light on that injury. In 1993 it was reported that dentists around the country were increasingly treating cases of tooth avulsion or severe trauma caused by contact with basketball nets. In most cases, 6 to 15 year old children lower their adjustable height driveway basketball rims to six or seven feet to dunk like their NBA heroes. They were, and still are, snagging their teeth and/or braces in the nets and tearing them out.
This Utah study indicates that this injury may be a much larger problem than has been previously thought. According to Dr. Jack Winters, a pediatric dentist in Findlay Ohio and President Elect of the Academy for Sports Dentistry, "This initial survey is the first focused attempt to accurately document the frequency and mechanism of this injury. The results were quite surprising. And if applicable nationally, should be cause for significant concern." Across the country there may be more than 6000 of these injuries occurring each year.
During the third and fourth week of June 1996, using the 1995-96 Salt Lake City Regional Yellow Pages, every dentist in the alphabetically listing was contacted by telephone. Each dentist was asked if they "...had ever personally treated any dental injuries, which were caused by contact with the basketball net. And if so in what year did each injury occur?"
The following data were the results.
568 dentists in all fields were telephoned. Of those dentists, 210 were non-responses because of vacations, unreturned calls, answering machines, limited business hours, patient conflicts, etc… Ultimately 363 dentists responded. Of those 363 responses 77 dentists had treated approximately 139 individual cases. That's approx. 21.5% of dentists responding had treated at least one case. (Respondents averaged 1.8 cases each.) Orthodontists and pediatric dentists most frequently treated multiple cases. The vast majority of those injuries were to young children and involved adjustable height basketball standards lowered to six or seven feet to allow youngsters to dunk.
If national numbers are projected from this extensive sampling- 21.5% of the 150,762+ US dentists (latest ADA survey, 1991) treated 1.8 injuries each. That would be approximately 58,344 basketball net related injuries, the large majority of which have occurred in the last six to seven years.
Yearly incidence rates have more then doubled over the last five years. That sharply growing curve probably corresponds to the growth curve of the adjustable height backboard industry and the increasing popularity of basketball. There are approx. 250,000 new adjustable height units sold each year with possibly 3 to 5 million such units in American driveways today. The industry does not publish sells figures.
Recently the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission has begun an investigation into the industry's reluctance to replace the net with the safety alternatives they have available to them. To date, of the many suits brought against the various manufacturers, the highest known out of court settlement paid by one of the manufacturers is $50,000. All known plaintiffs have been successful because a very acceptable alternative to the net has existed since 1991. Logan Dura Slam Inc of Tooele, Utah manufactures a product called the Dura Slam 2000. This UN-NET is an indoor/outdoor, imprintable, safety alternative to cloth nets. It has no holes in which teeth or fingers can become entangled.
Manufacturers have apparently been reluctant to use the product because its wholesale cost is $5 more than cloth nets.
"It does everything better than a traditional cloth net. It's just different.," says Lee Price a Dura Slam Representative. "It's just not what the world is used to seeing under the rim. The industry's attitude has been to ignore us and hope we go away. They know that it's next to impossible for a very novel product, no matter how good it is, to gain wide spread acceptance. One manufacturer told me that -she could buy an awful lot of insurance for the cost difference between their net and our UN-NET -. Where does that leave the kids?"
You can receive more information about the Dura Slam 2000 and the Dura Slam JR. by calling 907-373-5525 or by
e-mail at cec@ceclogan.com.
Dr. David Kumamoto of the Academy for Sports Dentistry is quick to point out that "Mouthguards are still the best protection against dental injuries. The Dura Slam won't help against the elbows, balls, poles, and other potential contact sources. But in light of the numbers this new study suggests, and knowing how difficult it is to get children to wear mouth guards, the Dura Slam would seem to protect them against net related injuries. While the Academy does not endorse products of any kind, the Dura Slam does appear to provide an excellent option."