Objective: To quantify and characterize injuries resulting from paintball game related activities among persons ⩾7 years in the United States.
Setting: Hospitals included in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS); these are composed of a stratified probability sample of all hospitals in the United States with emergency departments.
Methods: Using NEISS, non-fatal injury data for paintball game related injury cases from 1997–2001 were obtained from emergency department records. Participation estimates used to calculate injury rates were obtained from a yearly survey funded by the National Sporting Goods Association.
Results: An estimated 11 998 persons ⩾7 years with paintball game related injuries were treated in emergency departments from 1997–2001, with an annual average rate of 4.5 per 10 000 participants (95% confidence interval 3.3 to 5.7). The paintball game related injury rate was highest for 18–24 year olds (4.9 per 10 000 participants) and most injuries (94.0%) occurred among males. Almost 60% of all injured persons ⩾7 years were treated for paintball pellet wounds of which most were to the eye. While 76.9% of injured persons ages 7–17 years were treated for paintball pellet wounds, almost 40% of those ⩾18 years were treated for injuries resulting from overexertion or a fall. Lower extremity injuries were also common (23.0%), mostly from overexertion. Most injured persons (95.5%) were treated and released.
Conclusions: As paintball games become more popular, efforts are needed to increase training, enforce rules, and educate participants about how to stay safe, such as wearing protective eye gear, when engaged in paintball games at home, in a public area, or in a sports field.
- paintball injuries
- non-powder gun injuries
- eye injuries
- ASTM, American Society for Testing and Materials
- CI, confidence interval
- NEISS, National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
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