Book Review: Safety In Individual And Dual Sports

Safety In Individual And Dual Sports, edited by Joseph Borozne, Chauncey Morehouse, and Stanley Pechar

There is something deeply amusing about a work like this one.  All of the sports included here are listed as being very safe (including fencing and tennis) or are discussed with ways that would make them a lot safer.  By and large as well there is a pattern in the discussion that the higher the skill involved in the sports, the lower the rate of injury.  It is not surprising that this would be the case.  It should also be noted that none of the sports included here are team sports–presumably those are included in their own guide.  It should be no great wonder why a higher degree of athletic ability would be related to a lower rate of injury.  Greater practice would allow for more muscle memory and less occasions where people are straining themselves to do something.  Likewise, one would expect at least some benefit to practice in knowing what one should do and in properly warming up and cooling down (which the authors refer to as “warming down” for some reason).  By and large these sports are enjoyable ones to play and hopefully avoid injury while doing.

This book is about 50 pages long, maybe a bit less, and it contains a variety of information on how to make various sports safer and comment on factors that make various sports fairly safe to begin with.  The work starts with a foreword, editorial committee, and list of contributors.  After that the rest of the book is divided into twelve sections, on archery (1), bowling (2), equestrian sports (3), golf (4), gymnastics (5), shooting (6), track and field (7), weight lifting (8), fencing (9), badminton, racquetball, handball, squash, tennis (10), judo (11), and wrestling (12).  Tellingly, the guide does not discuss some of the long-term damaging health effects, say, gymnastics, which repeatedly involves long-term injury and pain to those who have engaged in the sport for a long while.  By and large the authors either praise a sport for its safety or try to minimize its injury risks.  One wonders, indeed, whether the point of a book like this is more to promote the playing of sports or to increase the funding of various athletic activities for young people rather than make such sports safer.  There is, of course, no discussion of concussions or stress injuries or anything beyond those injuries that happen in the course of playing the games.

It is noteworthy and praiseworthy that the authors include a variety of weapons-based sports as being particularly safe.  While it is no surprise that tennis would have few injuries, it is remarkable to note that there are so few injuries involved in archery, fencing, and shooting, given these are considerably more dangerous sports.  The reason for the safety of such sports appears to be a mixture of protective gear (in the case of fencing) as well as the high degree of training and skill involved in those teaching archery and shooting, which has been my experience and observation.  Most tellingly, sports like handball and judo appear to be much more prone to injury, as is the case with wrestling, because of errors in throws and in the close proximity of people with others in a high-speed game.  It is remarkable that shooting, fencing, and archery are so much safer than judo, which touts itself as being a relatively peaceable martial art.  It is also telling that judo is the only martial art at all included in this book, though perhaps this guide was written before other martial arts became particularly popular.  One wonders if the injury rate of such sports has remained constant over time.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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