HOW SAFE IS PAINTBALL
The most impressive aspect of paintball that most people aren’t aware of is that it is safer than most of the co-ed sports now being played in schools and during the summer. Statistically, it is three times more likely that a player will be injured to the point where they are taken to the hospital while playing basketball or soccer then if they were playing paintball. You’re even more likely to cause yourself serious injury bowling than you are playing paintball.
In it’s essence, paintball is a game of tag. Not the ‘tag you’re it’ that most of us remember from the school playground, but a game of ‘tag you’re out’ played in such a manner that there never is a point during the game where opposing players are required or encouraged to make physical contact with each other. To further minimize potential close contact there is in effect on all fields the 20 foot surrender rule which states that if you find yourself within 20 feet or less of an opposing player who is unaware of your presence then you must yell ‘Surrender or die’ and give that player a chance to surrender before being allowed to fire on them. At no point are you allowed to touch an opposing player during a game.
Paintball has evolved over the years to the point of being extremely safe. With limitations on how fast the paintball can travel when it leaves the barrel, how strong an impact from a paintball a mask has to withstand, rules regarding when HPA and CO2 tanks are too old and can no longer be refilled to basic, universal safety procedures and manufacturing standards developed by ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) and followed by every field worldwide.
Our field is no exception. We follow all of the safety procedures and use only the gear and equipment that is ASTM compliant. The rental gear that we offer includes Tippmann 98s and Flip-Top markers, CO2 tanks, and V-Force full face masks. Since we opened in 1986 we have had only one serious injury on the field and we typically have over 6,000 players every year who spend an average of 2.5 hours playing paintball. That’s over 180,000 players with over 450,000 cumulative hours of shooting and being shot at in rough terrain with only one serious injury which did not result in any permanent damage or disfigurement.
“(I)t’s estimated that over 10 million people play paintball in the United States each year, which means that if you play paintball, you have less than a one in 16,000 people who play paintball will end up in the ED (Emergency Department) and fewer than one in 135,000 will be admitted to a hospital. The odds of a serious injury, then, are astronomically low.” (David Muhlestein, Paintball Injuries)
For statistics on sports injuries in general: http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=sports-injury-statistics-90-P02787
For statistics on paintball injuries: http://paintball.about.com/od/safety/qt/Paintball-Injuries.htm
For a comparison of paintball to other sports injuries: http://paint-ball.org/paintball/safety_report.htm
For a list of safety standards developed by ASTM International: http://www.astm.org/search/fullsite-search.html?query=paintball&