Summary: Casualties in a combat zone are a bad thing, but they're not so bad when they're on the basketball court.
Any soldier will tell you that an excellent way to overcome stress or boredom is physical activity. A trip to the gym or a run around the base before the heat of the day nearly suffocates you brings welcome physical and mental relief, as long as you don't overdo yourself.
In our current situation, we inherited a basketball hoop in front of our barracks. So our physical activity has grown to include--in fact come to be dominated by--3-on-3 basketball games. But sometimes on the ball court we forget our rules of engagement.
Our Field Artillery battery has become well known at the battalion aid station lately. It started out as a couple of sprained ankles and bruises that we could take care of mostly ourselves, but as competitiveness increased, our spate of injuries increased to include bleeding that required stitches. "Oh it's you guys again," the aid station said the other day.
After three soldiers went down with cuts needing stitches, we thought our basketball days were numbered. One of them missed a couple of days of work as he had to be flown to another base to be checked for head trauma (everything turned out okay). As is so often the case, we envisioned a full-scale military investigation, whose verdict we were sure would be: 'Basketball is too dangerous; from here on out you can play H-O-R-S-E but nothing else.'
In an anticipatory countermove, we launched our own, internal investigation into the spike in inujuries requiring stitches. After careful review, we determined that all such injuries had occurred during 4-on-4 basketball games. Since requiring that all games include no more than 3-on-3 players (with only 2 violations of policy that I am aware of) we have had no further serious injury, except to an occasional ego. And a suggestion to our 'higher' that we had discovered and corrected the problem helped to avert an outright basketball ban.
Meanwhile, at another base... We have discovered that three lietenants in our battalion have gone down with basketball injuries. One suffered a dislocated shoulder, one required stitches to the head, and the other has bruised ribs and is waiting to discover if they are broken. Sounds like they better start their own internal investigation...