(PCM) A recent news development (October 12, 2014) surrounding paintball has brought the sport into question once again. AP reported that in HAUSER, Idaho an 18 year old boy was struck by a bus designed with mounted paintball guns to shoot zombies during a fall Halloween themed event/ride.
Thankfully it was clear that nothing about a paintball gun was the cause. Yet for many years this sport has been targeted as unsafe.
Let’s get straight to the facts. It is not unsafe. More injuries in paintball are sports related than any other injury. What does that mean? It means more injuries are twisted ankles to broken bones due to uneven terrain.
It is just that simple. If you are going to play paintball, wear the right clothes. Of all clothing nothing is more important than shoes. Soft rubber cleats are better than boots.
What are the injuries from paintball that most mothers fear? It’s from being shot in the eye by a paintball.
Unless someone is playing paintball in an unmanaged situation such as a players gathering in their local woods to play without any management, than any paid field someone attends will be required by insurance to adhere to strict standards.
The most important factor to safe paintball is a referee, and the more the better. The ratio should be at least one ref per side of players and in general one ref to every 10 players.
Yes, in the past stories about tanks being unscrewed improperly and becoming flying projectiles have become the lead in paintball stories, but the sport has evolved quickly since the 1980’s and in the modern setting, paintball may be considered more safe than concussion prone football.
Speaking of what to wear, you can play with as much or little clothes as you care to. Goggles are not a clothing article and are required to play. Paintball goggles are also made of a high impact resistant material. Be sure to only wear actual paintball goggles during play. Otherwise, most fields won’t dictate what you can and cannot wear in a standard woodsball or rec ball (recreational paintball) scenario. What you wear is ultimately based on your confidence of not being hit, how far you are being shot from, weather conditions and overall comfort and movement.
Is paintball safe? Stack it against most other sports and it is not only safe to play, it’s safer than most sports in general.
Statistics show in 2007, *paintball sustained approximately .02 injuries per 1000 participants compared to touch football at 1.9 and tackle football at 3.8. In fact paintball fell behind over 20 other activities in injuries per 1000. Those activities include cheerleading, soccer and basic ‘running’.
Paintball is safe, just be sure to play at a field that is managed. Not only do you have referees, the community of players will demand safety from every player involved.
Lars Hindsley is a 15 year veteran of paintball and you can watch his HOW TO videos at DangerManXX on YouTube. YouTube.com/DangerManXX
*Source – American Sports Date, Inc.