It’s been three years since bubbleballs were first introduced to U.S. campuses, and while some schools have been slow to adopt the game due to lack of data on safety, schools which have embraced the product are seeing more students, particularly females, engage in new ways and with few injuries. Boise State University students recently got into the record books with a Guiness World Record for the largest game of bubble soccer, a game novices play before advancing to higher levels.
While everyone continues to have fun and the industry takes shape, three areas are critical to understand for any recreation director and coordinator.
Few injuries have been reported. However, players and coordinators not getting educated about or simply enforcing safety has lead to injuries that schools can easily prevent with some proper safety training.
The three most critical safety measures to remember:
- Players and coordinators should always ensure participants in the bubbleballs —“ballers” — have the bubble fully covering at least eight inches above their head, to allow for safe roll overs and complete head protection.
- Referees should limit the distance on direct rushes between ballers to reduce force and impact on players and the equipment.
- Coordinators should be diligent and responsive to aggressive players. They should warn and penalize all players for spearing. This activity is what can lead to the most severe injury. When spearing, players bend down to charge and the top of the bubbleball is first to impact another baller versus the side of the bubbleball, exposing heads. If adhering to Item 1, the risk of injury is reduced. However in very rare instances and with high risk, two players spearing simultaneously with poorly inflated and incorrectly worn bubbleballs can be exposed to extreme trauma to the head, neck and face.
Ensuring the three safety measures above are enforced makes bubbleball related games extremely safe and absolutely fun.
While early adopters of bubbleball are having a blast playing beginner games, students and coordinators are encouraged to start thinking outside the bubble. New BBA game rules for bubbleball, which differs from bubble soccer, are designed for ballers and players outside the bubbleball, the “runners,” to play a more advanced level of play with more skill and strategy.
While various bubbleball related games have caught the attention of a wide range of students across the globe, recreation directors in the U.S. should stay tuned for further rules and standards development from the BBA. Educational demos of advanced levels of play are available from ambassadors to pave the way for bubbleball to not only be a fun intramural game, but to grow into the athletics and clubs programs of campuses nationwide.
By Mahdad Taheri, the founder of Bubbleball Inc and Bubbleball Business Association. For more information, call 844.428.2253 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.