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The most dangerous injury in paintball is one to the eye. This is why paintball masks are required. Without protective eyewear a player could sustain a serious injury to the eye resulting in blindness. This can include a shot directly to the eye, however the more common eye injuries occur when small bits of shrapnel from the paintball shell that disperses upon impact of the paintball. This means without proper protection, you can have an eye injury from being hit anywhere from the chest and above. This is why it’s unsafe to even consider stepping onto the paintball field without eye protection. Yet just any old pair of goggles from your Dad’s workshop won’t do; only purchase a mask that has an official ASTM rating. This means it has passed rigorous safety testing for paintball. This is just one more reason to purchase your safety equipment from an authorized reputable dealer. Paintball goggles come in a variety of styles and colors ranging from the most basic mask all the way to a custom full coverage helmet airbrushed to your specifications.
While masks are considered mandatory equipment, protective gear for other areas of the body will serve to make your game much more enjoyable. One aspect of paintball that keeps new players form starting the game is fear of the pain associated with taking a direct hit. Accessories like chest and neck protectors greatly reduce the sting of the paintball when hit in these sensitive areas. These injuries may not be serious but bruises are unsightly and may hang around for weeks, not to mention the immediate pain. While this equipment may not prevent an injury, it will certainly take the fear out of getting hit and make playing much more fun. While neck protectors are mostly a strip of padded material to cover the throat region, chest protectors come in two styles. Some are made of rigid plastic for the most complete protection, however these can be cumbersome to move in. The best torso protectors are made of a lycra type material shirt with padded cells sewn into it; these move with you and sometimes even allow paintballs to bounce rather than splat, keeping you in the game longer.
Abrasions on the forearms and elbows are also quite common in paintball, often brought on by diving or army crawling behind a bunker. Contusions and pressure wounds on the arms and elbows can be sustained from leaning against sharp surfaces while aiming your paintball gun. Many of these injuries can be prevented simply by wearing a long sleeve shirt or a baggy sweatshirt; most professional paintball jerseys include extra thick material or padding over the elbows, shoulders and forearms. For more fortified protection, elbow pads and gloves are cheap and readily available. Most elbow pads worn in paintball provide rigid coverage over the joint and attach securely with velcro straps on the arm and forearm. They are easy to put on/take off and can be worn under or on top of your clothing. The best paintball elbow pads are lightweight, flexible, easy to move in and may even include coverage for the forearms.
If you’ve never felt the sting of a high velocity paintball impact to the back of your hand, you’ve never been really stung by a paintball before. This area is one of the most painful places to get hit, causing lasting pain for up to 30 minutes as well as bruising (and sometimes swelling) that can last for weeks. Paintball gloves are terrific for hand protection during play but also great for reducing abrasions on the palm from headfirst superman diving and crawling on your hands and knees. Gloves will also give you more traction for better grip on your paintball gun or carrying important gear. The best paintball gloves will not only protect your hands from incoming paintball bullets and a rough playing environment but can also provide extra support for your wrist joints. Gloves with thick velcro enclosures around the wrist offer better protection against spraining these joints from active play.
Whether you play in the woods or on a speedball field, your thighs, knees, lower legs and even ankles can take a beating in paintball. Contusions, charlie horses, twisted knees and sprained ankles are all fairly common if you play hard enough to win. Without the right protection to your lower body, injuries like these can either sideline you until the pain resides or worse, cause you to hang your paintball gun in the closet for the rest of the season. While baggy clothing or professional paintball pants offer protection to the thighs and keep cuts and scrapes down when running through the bush, they do nothing for padding the lower extremity joints. Paintball knee pads are perfect for protecting the knees when crawling, kneeling or knee sliding behind a bunker. Shin guards are also available, however rarely used, but offer full protection for the lower leg. While there are no specific pads for the ankles or feet, combat boots or high top sneakers are highly recommended for the added ankle support to prevent sprains.
Whether you’re looking to protect certain areas of the body or full coverage armor, there is paintball protective gear readily available. As a new player, if you’re squeamish about being hit, protective padding is a must to raise your confidence so you can have plenty of fun without terror. Imagine playing with reckless abandon when you wear a full suit of body armor, covered from head to toe with protective paintball padding. A mask, helmet, neck and chest protector, gloves, elbow and knee pads will not only keep you pain free but will also do wonders for preventing minor to serious injuries. In reality, few players actually wear full suits of body armor because of movement restriction, however certain pieces are definitely worth the investment. Paintball protective gear is available from head to toe for both scenario woodsball and tournament speedball players.
write by Hypatia