Basketball backstops can weigh thousands of pounds. That’s a lot of weight hanging above your head in the gym.

While there are no governing standards for suspending gymnasium equipment, the safety of athletes and spectators is our top priority.

Here are five ways we make sure our basketball backstops are safe for players and spectators:

Ensure a strong connection.
Safety starts at the vital connection points where backstops are attached to the building structure. Draper uses grade 5 or better hardware that meets SAE standard J429. This type of hardware is also known as type 1 for ASTM standard A449.

In addition, we employ only welders who are certified according to the American Welding Society (AWS) structural welding standard, D.1.1.

What effect does this have on safety? We have our clamps and fittings tested by an independent American Association for Laboratory Accreditation-accredited testing lab. Those tests show that our basketball backstop beam clamps can hold up to approximately 20,000 pounds. The T-frame hangers have also been independently tested and found to support in excess of 25,000 pounds. Test reports are available on request.

Use UL-listed winches.
Folding backstops use motorized winches to raise the units out of the way when not in use and to lower them back into position for play. Since backstops weigh so much, it is important to make sure the winch is UL-listed.

UL standard 1340 covers power-operated hoists of the overhead type, intended for material-lifting service using either chain or wire rope. The standard requires a self-locking gear ratio or brake mechanism, establishes load capacities, and requires product to be marked with capacity. Draper winches meet this standard.

Encourage buckling up.
Safety straps function similar to an automobile seat belt, locking the unit in place in the event of a winch or cable failure. Yet, they are not required for folding backstops to protect against winch or cable failure. Even still, Draper provides a safety strap for every folding backstop we sell.

While the number and frequency of winch or cable failures is not great, a safety strap is a low priced “insurance policy” that should be included on every folding backstop.

Protect the glass.
A glass backboard can shatter when the backboard itself, and not the support structure, is taking too much of the playing load. A shattered backboard means flying glass that could potentially be stepped on or cause damage to eyes.

Draper’s direct mount goal brace prevents shattered backboards. The goal brace bolts through the glass backboard to the support structure directly behind. This transfers the playing load away from the backboard and onto the structure.

Goal braces are required by the National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Draper glass backboards that are used with a goal brace have a limited lifetime warranty.

Soften the edges.
Backboard Edge Padding is required by sanctioning bodies at almost all levels, from high school through college and into the international game. Although the National Basketball Association (NBA) rule book is silent on this issue, every NBA board is padded.

Backboard padding reduces the chances of player head injuries. It must cover the entire bottom of the backboard and 15” up each side and has to be 2” wide.

Although rulebooks don’t recommend the type of padding, we prefer bolt-on padding. This type of padding attaches better and lasts longer than padding that is glued into place.

To learn more about all the safety and performance features of Draper’s basketball backstops, click here to go to our backstop web page.