Basketball rings can be a serious safety risk if they are not properly installed and maintained. They can even cause death.
Installing a basketball ring safely
A basketball ring should never be fixed to a freestanding wall or single skin of brickwork. These types of walls are not strong enough to support basketball rings, and the installation may weaken over time and collapse. Single skin brickwork is when there is only one layer of bricks that make up the wall, and is often found in garages or low-level fences.
If you do have a basketball ring or backboard attached to single skin of brickwork, safely remove it straight away.
For structures made from double brick or other materials, we recommend you contact a structural engineer to check the wall and the proposed fixings are adequate and safe. A brick wall and other structures are generally not designed to resist the forces that would be applied by the use of a basketball ring and backboard.
The engineer takes several factors into consideration when calculating the structural adequacy. These factors will include the height and thickness of the wall and the stability of the brickwork.
Attaching a ring or backboard
A ring and backboard should ideally be fixed to a ‘hot dip’ galvanised steel post. It should be 90 mm (9 cm) × 90 mm with a 5 mm (0.5 cm) wall thickness.
The post should be set at least 800 mm (80 cm) into a mass concrete footing 500 mm (50 cm) × 500 mm (or 500 mm diameter) × 1000 mm (1 m) deep.
Alternative systems can be provided by a structural engineer or by the equipment manufacturer. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when attaching the basketball ring to the backboard and the backboard to the post.
Maintaining the ring or backboard
Check the stability of the post, brick wall or any other supporting structure regularly, as they can deteriorate over time with exposure to the elements.
Water can collect at the base of the basketball post, so it’s important to check the base regularly. This is especially critical in salt-water environments.
In addition, fixings, such as bolts and screws, can loosen with the constant banging of basketballs on the backboard and ring.
Your inspection should include:
- the fixings of the post to the ground
- the fixings of the ring to the backboard
- the fixings of the backboard to the supporting structure
- the condition of the supporting structure, especially where a backboard and ring are fixed to a wall.
If you have any doubt about the safety or stability of an installation, consult a structural engineer.
Never allow anyone to swing or hang on the basketball ring.