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Bubble balls are one of several inflatable toys that have become popular in recent times. Whether they’re used as entertainment at a child’s party or in an organized bubble ball soccer tournament, the sport is designed to be fun for the players, whatever their athletic ability and age.
In a party setting, the experience is, or should be, just for laughs. Even in a competition, where the team who scores the most goals wins, the game is not designed as a serious, competitive sport but one that’s hilariously fun and good exercise. Introduced by Bubbleball Inc, the sport is played much like classic soccer but with one major difference: players are strapped inside an inflated bubble ball, which they may perceive as padding that makes the sport safer.
The Bubble Soccer Business Association touts bubble soccer as one of the safest sports there is. Yet, the activity has proved to be dangerous and has led to serious injury, like the one experienced by a child we represent who suffered a catastrophic injury during the activities at another child’s birthday party.
Among safety precautions, a player’s head should be at least eight inches below the top of the bubble to avoid a head injury, if hit. The sport has also led to spinal cord injuries. In one instance, a 16-year-old sustained a cervical spine burst fracture with an incomplete spinal cord injury when he collided with another player. The game’s rules prohibit aggressive tactics on the field, though they’re sometimes not enforced by facilitators and referees of the game.
A report by the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience titled “How Safe is Bubble Soccer?” notes several injuries and advises that strict regulations should be considered. Even adults have sustained serious bubble soccer injuries, including one who suffered a neck fracture and concussion and was immobilized for a year.
If your child wants to play the game, they should be strapped in safely and supervised while inside the ball. And adults who play should set an example by following safety protocols. For those who play bubble ball or any sport, safety should be the number-one priority.
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