The most serious injury ever sustained in paintball is to the eye. Most paintball markers shoot at least 200 feet per second; this is fast and hard enough to cause blindness if shot directly in the eye. While this has only happened a few times in the history of the sport, the injury is serious enough to warrant eye protection at all times when playing.
A certified, safety rated paintball mask is a mandatory part of your equipment; you are not allowed to play without proper eye protection. Fortunately, good paintball masks are easy to come by and can be bought at nearly any sporting goods store (that carries paintball equipment) and even easier to find on the internet.
To make sure you have a mask that meets proper safety requirements, be sure you get one that's specifically designed for playing paintball. To ensure this, always purchase your paintball mask from an authorized dealer. Wear the mask not only during play, but even when walking off the paintball field to prevent against a stray ball causing a serious accident.
The next least serious injuries that occur during paintball are orthopedic in nature. Whether you play speedball or woodsball, paintball is always a fast paced, extremely active game. There is much running, sliding and even diving behind cover, as well as crawling, rolling, lunging and leaping.
Just like any other sport that's active, joint injuries can occur. These injuries are not specific to paintball, however bone contusions and sprained wrists, knees and ankles are common. Even protective padding often won't prevent twisting your ankle, landing wrong on your shoulder or bending your wrist the wrong way.
These injuries generally cannot be predicted or prevented. However if you have had a history of problems like this in the past, it may be wise to tape, wrap or wear a support around the joint for extra protection during play. This can be done before the game and may be the only way of preventing a re-injury.
Perhaps the most common injuries in paintball are associated with the rough play involved with the game. Some players are more careful, while others really go for it. Sliding and diving behind bunkers, crawling on your belly quickly to avoid being hit often causes scrapes, cuts and bruises on different parts of the body.
While woodsball and speedball are played on different types of fields, the player will experience different types of environments. Either way, the harder you play, the more apt you are to get beat up by the playing environment. Fortunately, these types of injuries can often be 'played through' and are easy enough to remedy. Keeping a small first aid kit with your paintball gear is never a bad idea for these purposes.
Finally, nearly every player eventually experiences the pain and bruising left behind from being hit by a close-range paintball. If a paintball makes a direct hit on the skin (and sometimes through clothing) in less than 100 feet of distance, it will generally mark the skin with a whelp. The closer the range, the worse the pain and bruising.
Besides the orthopedic insults, most of these injuries can be completely avoided by wearing paintball protective equipment
. Gear is available to cover and protect a player's hands, arms, chest, neck, shins, knees and most importantly the face. Brands differ, however this equipment is often made of lightweight, hard plastic, thick material or dense foam padding to soften the blow of landing hard and protect against high velocity paintballs.
As long as a certified mask is worn, paintball is considered a safe sport; however minor injuries still occur. These can be greatly reduced however by wearing protective gear on other parts of the body. Most players find playing by the rules and wearing enough padding allows for a safe, enjoyable game.
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