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Pickleball Faces Massive Roadblock in Addition to Tennis after Eye Injuries Spike

Published 07/10/2023, 3:08 PM EDT

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The exciting sport of pickleball has been gaining immense popularity across the United States. However, recent reports of a significant spike in eye injuries have raised concerns among players and medical professionals alike.

With the growing number of participants, it has become imperative to address the safety challenges associated with pickleball and ensure the well-being of its players.

The rising popularity and demographics of pickleball

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If you are here then there are high chances of you being a fellow sports lover. There are so many sports to play for us. We all have our favorite sports, including tennis, table tennis, badminton, and more. But what if there’s a sport that combines the best elements of different sports? Who wouldn’t love it, right?

Here’s how Pickleball was invented. A sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, table tennis, chess, and aerobics, has captured the hearts of people from all walks of life. Notably, it has gained immense popularity among older individuals who may not possess the same quickness and agility they once had.

In fact, USA Pickleball estimates that approximately 17% of pickleball players are aged 65 and older. The popularity of the sport has risen so much that there are even proposals of adding a bright yellow line to the tennis courts so that pickleball can be played over them.

Many people have even urged it to be included in the Olympics and other major sporting events. However, there are significant roadblocks to the sport.

Eye injuries: A serious concern

Although the multi-discipline sport’s popularity is on the rise, so are the injuries occurring during it. Among several injuries, eye injuries are the most common.

According to an analysis published in the journal Injury Epidemiology, the number of pickleball-related injuries has witnessed a substantial increase between 2010 and 2019. The study specifically focused on people aged above 60, as they accounted for a significant 85% of emergency room visits.

Additionally, researchers have identified certain factors that contribute to the risk of eye injuries in pickleball. People with high myopia, those who have undergone previous eye surgeries, and those with cataracts are more prone to sustaining severe eye injuries.

Furthermore, a recent report by UBS sheds light on the significant burden imposed on healthcare systems due to pickleball-related injuries. The projected figures for the year indicate a staggering 67,000 visits to the emergency room, 366,000 outpatient visits, 8,800 outpatient surgeries, 4,700 hospitalizations, and 20,000 follow-up episodes linked to pickleball injuries, including eye injuries.

The consequences of such injuries can be long-lasting and affect an individual’s quality of life. This rising number of eye injuries in pickleball raises serious questions and necessitates immediate action.

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Ensuring safety in the sport

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To mitigate the risk of eye injuries in pickleball, we need to prioritize player safety. We can implement several measures such as encouraging the use of protective eyewear designed for pickleball. Additionally, we can provide comprehensive education and training programs on safety guidelines.

We can also improve playing infrastructure with shock-absorbing surfaces, proper lighting, and well-maintained courts. These things will significantly contribute to a secure playing environment. By adopting these strategies, we can ensure that pickleball remains an enjoyable sport while minimizing the risk of eye injuries for all players.

While pickleball continues to grow in popularity, the surge in eye injuries poses a significant roadblock to its long-term success. It is essential, we as players, organizations, and governing bodies work together to implement effective safety measures.

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Are you a pickleball player? Share your thoughts on how to improve safety in the sport and protect players from potential injuries.

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Written by:

Kumar Rohan

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Kumar Rohan is a writer at EssentiallySports who covers Sports Viral Moments. He is a sports journalist with a knack for writing. His sports expertise comes in handy when he breaks down events skilfully, in his own style.
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Edited by:

Priyadarshini Ajay