Playing sports indoors often involves additional safety considerations. Though ball fields are the same size indoors and outdoors, the enclosed space may need adjustments. Different sports have varying requirements to protect players. For those who design and build sports complexes, you should keep the following sports safety tips in mind while managing and planning facilities.
Indoor Safety by Sport
Every sport has specific protection standards. Often coaches tell players to stretch and hydrate before games to prevent muscle injuries and dehydration. Beyond these basic requirements, each sport has unique needs based on the demands it places on athletes. Here are some safety concerns in a sports facility for a few traditionally outdoor sports:
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), baseball results in an estimated 178,670 injuries per year. Players wear gear like helmets to stay safe during the game, but hits from a stray bat or ball may cause damage that a helmet can't protect against. An indoor field may also have conditions athletes aren't used to, like a harder surface, increasing the likeliness of injury.
Football, a physical sport, results in injuries more often than baseball. The most recent CPSC report noted that football resulted in 387,950 injuries in a year. To prevent injuries, individuals wear helmets and special padding, but their environment can also cause harm. Architects should consider adding protective surfaces to goal posts, bleachers and walls in an indoor space for greater safety.
Though soccer results in less physical contact than football, it can still lead to injury. Stray balls or contact with hard surfaces like bleachers or nearby walls are common hazards. Athletes can wear equipment like shin guards to protect them from kicks and balls, but this gear cannot prevent other common injuries.
In an indoor space, facilities should include nets or padding to protect players from running into walls or bleachers. These features can also guard spectators from flying balls that might cause injury.
Safety in Facility Management
Facility management is a job responsibility focused on making sure every component of a space works appropriately. When a facility functions well, its users are healthy and productive. If you are responsible for ensuring protection in sports complexes, here are some of the best safety practices for indoor sports:
Hang safety signage: Signs remind athletes of potential dangers so that they know what to look out for. You might post signs with rules for the usage of a specific area, like a baseball field or track. Signage might also warn spectators to stay clear of a marked region during gameplay.
Keep the facility clean: Clearing clutter, messes and other tripping hazards from spaces should be a top priority for sporting facilities. When managing a facility, you should ensure floors are clear of dirt and water that might cause people to slip. Also, you should store stray balls or other athletic gear out of the way when not in use.
Inspect equipment: Equipment breaking during use can be harmful to players. Check gear regularly to ensure it's not damaged or worn, as long-term use might cause it to break down. Most sporting equipment must also meet industry safety standards to be fit for use.
Mark play areas: Different sports need specific play areas. Ensure that each necessary play area is marked off, so athletes know exactly where the boundaries are. In rooms that accommodate multiple sports, you may need to mark each court in a different color. Color-coding allows individuals to distinguish the play area easily. If players aren't sure of boundaries, they may suffer injuries from tripping or colliding with surfaces.
Safety in Facility Design
If you're responsible for designing a sporting facility, whether for a college sports complex or a private recreation project, remember that players depend on safe design so that they feel comfortable entering the facility. A secure facility allows college athletes to focus on improving performance and other individuals to rely on a well-designed facility for exciting play during free time.
Whatever athletes your facility will serve, their well-being is a top priority. Here are some safety measures for indoor sports to consider.
The Sports Programming Offered
Many sporting facilities today accommodate various sports. Some sports are traditionally indoors, like basketball and gymnastics. Others, like football, soccer and baseball, usually take place outdoors. If you plan to bring an outdoor field indoors, your play area must mimic outdoor conditions as closely as possible. It must also accommodate other safety needs due to the indoor setting, which might have less open space around it.
Players and Spectators
Consider who will populate your sporting complex and whether you have enough room to serve them. If you plan to host tournaments or other events with many spectators, ensure you will have space for them. Also, include adequate safety measu