Basketball-mad youngsters trying to emulate American stars have been warned they are risking their lives by attempting acrobatic slam-dunk shots on increasingly overcrowded Hong Kong courts. As the NBA play-offs draw huge television audiences in the SAR, more youngsters are attempting to imitate their sporting idols and risk ending up with serious arm, leg or back injuries. Experts warn Hong Kong basketball courts are too crowded and poorly surfaced and players who attempt slam-dunk shots could end up in hospital. An increasing number of youngsters are reported to have been admitted to hospital in recent months with basketball-related injuries. Tse Long-ming, a basketball coach, said more teenagers were practising slam-dunk shots. 'Many watch the games from television and then practise themselves the next day,' he said. 'But they are not aware of the hidden danger. They are not trained and many basketball stands and goals in Hong Kong are not suitable for dunk shots.' Acting principal inspector (physical education) Lam Kwoon-sun said the Education Department did not encourage students to perform slam-dunk shots at school. 'The department has issued a safety guideline for physical education teachers. They are warned not to teach students slam-dunk shots as the facilities in normal schools are not suitable,' he said. Public attention to safety in the sport was raised in 1994 after a 14-year-old boy was knocked unconscious while playing basketball on a Fanling court. First-former Hui Yiu-wing was hit on the head by a backboard and hoop when the metal pole supporting them broke off. His mother, Hui Wong Wai-ling, said yesterday her son still suffered memory loss and had difficulty in learning. The family is suing the Regional Council and the contractor which fixed the pole for damages.