As we approach the end of March, the madness of the sporting calendar is quickly approaching fever pitch. There’s so much going on here in Florida over the next several weeks that people will have a huge choice of what kind of event they’d like to take in. The real NCAA March Madness is in Jacksonville, the NHL is approaching the start of the playoffs (with the Tampa Bay Lightning leading the entire league), baseball’s spring training is in full force with the Grapefruit league playing multiple games a night, and other local universities have their spring sports in full swing all across the state.
If you’re a sports fan and are interested in going to take in a game in person for yourself, you’ll have lots to choose from, and you’ll undoubtedly have a tremendous time wherever you go. However, injuries can happen at sporting events, particularly if you’re not careful. Despite the fact that sporting venues have taken tremendous precautions to protect spectators and ensure the best possible sightlines, fluke things can happen, and the last thing you want to do is leave the arena or ballpark in an ambulance or after sustaining a serious injury.
Here are four ways you could be injured at a sporting event, and some tips for avoiding each of them.
Struck by a Baseball
Heading to spring training? This is a great way to get up-close and personal with players from some of your favorite teams, as crowds are generally smaller, players are more available, and ballparks are more accessible. However, because these ballparks are smaller, they generally don’t have the same level of protection and warning for spectators. Line-drive balls off the bat, foul tips backward, and other fast-traveling objects can leave the playing field in a hurry, potentially causing serious injury to a spectator. If you’re in an area where a baseball traveling at a high speed may come at you, keep your eyes on the play at all times. If something does come toward you, be sure to protect your head as much as possible to avoid a serious head injury, like a concussion.
Struck by a Hockey Puck
Ice hockey is a fast-paced game that has a similar issue to baseball-things can exit the playing surface at high speeds. However, unlike baseball where the ball has to travel several hundred feet to reach a spectator, the crowd at a hockey game is up close to the action. That means a flying puck could easy come flying over the glass and strike a spectator that’s not aware of what’s going on. The same safety principle applies as well—keep your eyes on the play whenever the action is going. The nice thing is hockey has regular whistles which interrupt the action and create a safe moment where you can comfortably turn your attention away momentarily, but try to refrain from doing so while the game is going on.
Collision with a Player
Generally, you don’t have to worry too much about this unless you’re sitting courtside, but basketball is a unique sport in that spectators literally sit right up to the boundary line of the playing surface. As players make acrobatic, desperation leaps to try and keep a ball in play, they often do so with little regard to their own bodily safety, or the safety of those in the crowd. To make matters even worse, basketball players are generally some of the largest people you’ll ever meet as well—they’re tall, and extremely muscular, making them very heavy. If you do happen to score some amazing seats to an NCAA tournament game or an NBA matchup, make sure you can give yourself enough time to get out of the way if a player unexpectedly goes flying into the crowd.
Struck by a Golf Ball
The PGA Tour frequently comes to Florida throughout the season, and this year is no exception. With four Florida-based events in a row on the schedule this season, Floridians will have plenty of opportunity to see the world’s best players tackle some of the most prized courses in the state. While many people think of golf as one of the slowest-pace and least injury-prone sports on the planet, the truth is that may only be the case for the players. A golf ball can leave the face of a driver at speeds well in excess of 160 miles per hour, which enables it to travel over 300 yards in the air. Even if you’re over 300 yards away from the ball when it hits you, the small size and low speed means it can really cause some damage if it were to hit you. And it can—pros miss the fairway like everybody else, just not as often, and it’s not uncommon for them to send a ball careening into the gallery. Keep your eyes and ears open if you’re going to be attending any of these events and listen for clues from the crowd as to when a ball may be headed your way.If you’ve been injured through no fault of your own, call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC at (866) 675-4427 today and find out more about your rights as an injury victim!