Paintball is one of the most popular outdoor games right now. And, contrary to popular belief, one of the safest too. Paintball is an extreme sports game with a high chance of getting injured. But, statistically speaking, it is safer than bowling and golf.
Not just these, but almost every other game. Not my words as a fan of the game but a study conducted in 2003 by NIIC.
The only way to get injured in this sport is by one’s negligence and recklessness. Paintball battles use pellets or balls that are fired at you that burst upon contact usually. The only time it doesn’t is when you are too far away, and the velocity is not enough.
You can ask any paintball professional about the most common injuries, and the most common answer will be nothing about paintball itself. It mostly revolves around those abrasions and tears that that are in every other game. Any sports that require running will result in slight injuries like these every now and then.
Other injuries can be from cheap paintballs that hit the exposed skin. They have irregular shapes, and the cartridge is thicker. They mostly leave welts, and the scars can last a few months.
As for the major ones, they mostly revolve around injured eyes and bruised ears. That only happens when the headgear and goggles are removed.
Media And Criticism
Paintball is mostly popular in the US and knowing the problems there are regarding guns, this sport was spared no amount of criticism. Adding the eye injuries and two deaths that occurred because of the exploding gas tank, the reputation took a severe hit.
Players started to pull out, discouraging new potential customers at the same time. Some players disregarded the rules and limits and went in “hot” as they call it, shooting at close distances and over the set speeds. All these factors played a significant role in giving the critics all the ammunition they needed to defame the sport.
Then, there were the reports that showed the number of injuries that resulted due to paintball. Because there weren’t any other reports to compare it with, things took a turn for the worst.
What Did The Reports Missed
Looking at the medical reports of ERs in Table.1, there have been 56 visits to ED per day because of injuries resulting from paintball and airgun, of which only two were because of paint guns.
But that’s not even a number to be worried about. Just in 2008, according to Statista, there were 4.86 million people that participated in paintball only in the US. That is around 1 injured person for every 8000 players. These statistics were not revealed, and this led to the decline in sports over the decade.
The reports completely omitted the types of injuries that the players suffered. When, how, and where was all ignored, and just the total was published. They also clearly forgot to mention the reason for those injuries. No one knows if they got the bruises after they removed their headgear and glasses. Or if they were following the safety protocols or not.
It took a lot of work and effort to convince people of the safety of this game. To make the game safer many arenas issued out rules that everyone had to follow lest they want to be kicked out and blacklisted.
What To Expect From This Sport
With all the misunderstandings aside, if you feel like having a match or two, there are a few things that you will have to consider before you head out.
If you happen to know someone that frequents these kinds of matches often, then you can simply ask him or her. If not, read the instructions below carefully.
Planning for a paintball match is not something that you can decide on a whim. The arenas or battlegrounds are mostly pre-booked, and you have to take an appointment before you enter the field. While some of them don’t ask for an appointment, you will have to come with a group of your own if you want to play.
After that, you have to decide what to wear under the guards and equipment. Make sure to keep yourself comfortable and easy. It will be better if whatever you wear is not too valuable or costly. The paint sometimes will stick permanently and can ruin your clothes.
After you have entered the field, you’ll have yourself and your team registered. You can rent equipment from there and purchase paintballs if you lack them. Some waivers have to be filled out as well.
They are like terms and conditions that appear before you download any app or game. In that, you agree to take responsibility for all the accidents that may occur while playing and won’t hold the arena authorities responsible. It might sound unnerving, but you’ll be fine as long as you abide by the rules and correctly wear your equipment.
These forms are filled out by people above 18 years, and if you are not, your guardian or caretaker will do it.
What Will You Need To Play
There are a ton of things that are available for the players to use. But, the most basic and crucial things are:
- A mask
- A hopper(paintball container)
- Paintball Gun
- Barrel plug/cover
- Gas tank
These are the basic things without which you cannot play. There are other things too that most professionals carry with them. That includes a ball hauler, which is a great assistance when you are refilling your hopper. Then there is the gun stand, O-Ring picks, and a gear bag. Lastly, the barrel swabs must be included too to keep the gun barrel clean and aim precise and correct.
Safety Rules And Precautions
To keep the game safe and fun for everyone, there are rules and safety precautions that every player is supposed to follow. There is a referee that keeps everything under control. He holds the power to suspend anyone from the game if they break any of the rules.
The first and foremost rule of paintball-never remove your face mask, whether you are on the field or in a neutral area. Things will end up pretty bad if a stray pellet kisses your bare face. Then, there is the standard rule of wearing clothes that cover your entire body. If, and only if for some reason someone needs to remove the mask, everyone has to plug in the barrel plug.
Alcohol is not something that should be consumed before any sport. It does not just put you in danger, but all the other people around you. Any kind of alcohol is forbidden inside the arena for this reason.
Shooting within 10 feet and shooting blindly around the corners is also prohibited.
These were the general rules. As for the precautions, they are as follows.
- Always check the gas tank if they are leaking or not. Compressed CO2 is extremely cold and can cause chills on your skin.
- Never carry your gun from the gas tank. Any sudden jerk can damage the joint and make it malfunction.
- Keep your barrels plugged at all times until or unless you are in the game.
- Always clean your equipment. Especially the barrel. Sometimes a paintball bursts inside the barrel and can cause problems.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is there an age limit?
ANS: One thing about paintball is that there is no age limit. Although it is recommended that the age should be above seven or eight. It is safe for all ages as long as the participants stay and play under limits and rules.
Q: Is it necessary for an adult to be present during a game of minors?
ANS: Yes. For every match that includes someone under 18, an adult needs to be there in case something happens to him/her.
Q: How many people are required for a match?
ANS: There aren’t any strict requirements for a paintball match. The only limit is the space and area of the field and how many people you bring. You can even go in solo, but remember, there isn’t much fun in that. You can even join other groups if they allow it.
Q: Can I bring my paintballs in the field?
ANS: Most fields now have placed strict bans on the paintballs brought in by the players. That is done for a variety of reasons. The balls could’ve been tampered with by the players or can be not up to the standard. They can become a safety hazard and are a potential threat. The arena will provide you the paintballs, and as for other equipment, you can use them as long as they pass the security test and hasn’t been tinkered with illegally.
That would be all from us regarding the paintball and its intricacies. For all the faults pointed out in this sport by the critics, we can say this with utter assurity that as long as you follow the protocols you will be safe and enjoy the game.