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Safety Tips: Volleyball

Volleyball is among the safest sports out there, but injuries can happen. To keep things as safe as possible while playing volleyball, follow these tips.

Why Is Volleyball Safety Important?

More people worldwide play volleyball than any other sport except soccer. While the rate of injuries in volleyball is low, thousands do happen every year, from things like diving in the sand or on a gym floor, twisting an ankle, or hitting too many spikes.

The most common injuries are sprains and strains, mostly to the ankle. Other common injuries include repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) (also called overuse injuries) of the shoulders and knees, as well as finger injuries, such as jammed fingers, broken bones, dislocations, and torn tendons.

Falling on the floor can leave you with a bump or a bruise, or even a  concussion. So can colliding with a teammate, opponent, or net post or getting hit with the ball. And diving in the sand could leave you with a scratched cornea if sand gets in your eye.

Gearing Up

Other than a ball and a net, you don't need a lot of gear to play volleyball. This is especially true for beach volleyball, which doesn't require much more than a bathing suit. Even so, there are a few things to consider when it comes to volleyball gear:

Before You Play

Getting yourself in shape before volleyball season starts will help make you a better player and go a long way toward preventing injuries. Start working out and eating right a few months before the season begins. Better yet, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet year-round, and you won't need to worry about getting in shape for the season.

Here are some other things to keep in mind before you start practicing or playing:

While You Play

During play at the net, try not to step across the center line into your opponent's side of the court. Many ankle sprains happen during play at the net, and a lot of them involve someone landing on an opponent's foot and twisting an ankle.

Don't hang or pull on the net or net posts. You could bring the net down on someone.

Keep an eye out for your teammates, and "call" the ball when you go to make a play to reduce the chances of colliding with another player.

Use proper techniques. Studies show that players who practice and use the right technique when spiking or blocking step on fewer feet and get fewer sprained ankles.

If you get a cramp or feel pain while playing, ask to come out of the game and don't start playing again until the pain goes away. Playing through pain might seem brave, but it can make an injury worse and possibly keep you on the sidelines for longer stretches of time.

A Few Other Reminders

Chances are, you're not going to get hurt playing volleyball, and if you do, it probably won't be a very serious injury. But you can make the chances of an injury even slimmer by using the right technique, being in shape, and taking a few simple precautions.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: June 2015

Note: All information on TeensHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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