Racquet Sport Safety Tips

Mike Oberski

Unfortunately, each year there are about 36 million falls from people older than 65 years, and about three million of them wind up in the ER (Ref: AARP Bulletin, June 2023). But don’t give up yet. There are some techniques to falling, even in sports like tennis and pickleball, that could make a huge difference in your getting up and shaking it off. Recently, one of our tennis members, Mike Oberski, released a paper he wrote on tennis safety tips that included how to fall, preventive measures to look out for before playing, and safety precautions we can apply for each other during the game.

In quick summary, if you experience a fall, go limp, relax, bend your knees, angle them to one side, and tuck your chin to your chest, keeping your head tilted away from the ground as you fall. There are many references that can help you better understand these measures. Here are a few:

* AARP Bulletin, June 2023, “How the Pros Fall Safely,” page 14 of the June issue.

* “How to Fall Safely—3 Breakfall Techniques;” Find it on YouTube.

* “How to Fall Without Injury for Young Active to Seniors;” Find it on YouTube.

There is also a class in the DesertView Fitness Center called SGT-Balance & Fall Prevention.

A few other considerations before playing might be to check the court for stray balls, warm up before playing, stay hydrated, and consider eye protection. Polycarbonate sunglasses are shatter resistant with lenses that are 10 times stronger than regular lenses. Plus, polycarbonate lenses also filter 100 percent of ultraviolet light from the sun. They are the thinnest and lightest lenses available.

One other thing that might keep you injury-free and enjoying the game more is lessons to show proper techniques. Enjoy and play safe!