Context: Injuries are common among high profile players in the National Basketball Association (NBA), and could provide an opportunity for physicians to provide accurate sports injury information and reliable rehabilitation data to the general public in the immediate aftermath.
Objectives: To evaluate social media trends to investigate public interest in athletic injuries in the NBA and to evaluate the length of maintained interest in these injuries.
Methods: The Google Trends tool was used to analyze search data around two high profile players—Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson—who suffered injuries during the 2019 NBA Finals. The results were compared to the expected search forecast derived from an autoregressive integrated moving algorithm model.
Results: Both players were associated with a mean increase of 1,052.4% (standard deviation [SD], 703.96%) in relative search volumes for terms related to their injuries. This data showed a significant increase in search engine activity related to injuries associated with NBA players in the first 6.13 days (SD, 3.14 days) following the injuries, marking a substantial timeframe for public engagement.
Conclusions: Search traffic information may be beneficial to the sports medicine community, as social media can provide a platform for patient education in a limited timeframe. By increasing patient awareness and knowledge regarding athletic injuries, social media can expand the pool of potential patients for physicians and surgeons.