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Does Paintball Hurt?
By Valken Sports

Aloha reader! Greetings, and I’m happy you’ve stumbled across this article. If your browsing this and don’t already know the answer, I’m guessing its because you have newly discovered the exciting, loud, intense, adrenaline packed game/sport of paintball! Well congratulations and welcome to the fun club! Maybe you’re a youngster with a knack for excitement, team sports, or games with a little more at risk then laser tag or “Call of Duty”. Maybe you’re a parent that’s caught wind of the game from a magazine, online, in a TV show, or from other peers around you, and thinking about getting your kid into a game that gets them outside, physically active, in a team building environment and using their brain and communication! Regardless, you have one question (and a natural one that crosses everyone’s mind the first time they see it!) that has kept you reluctant from trying it yourself or getting someone else into it. “Does paintball hurt?”

As a long time paintball player of over 15 years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question. Weather I’m explaining to family who want to hear about what I do, or informing a stranger about the sport just to spread knowledge and awareness, if paintball enters the dialogue for the first time with someone I’m talking to about it, they nearly always ask this question if they have not played paintball themselves. I’ve talked my own family, girlfriends, older members and 10-year-old kids into giving the game a try…by now you could say I have all the reasoning, arguments and logic for it down to a rant. And no matter how scared they are at first, they always give in and see the trade off of the ridiculous amount of fun and excitement! But at the same time I completely understand how someone just exposed to this intense looking sport could have this thought and question. Picture it, your watching people fire spheres at each other, often at very close range and a very rapid-fire rate. You see kids running right by each other and putting several shots on their opponents point blank! One of those kids that took over a dozen colorful paint spray explosions walks off the field, the game before your first time going out. That looks pretty crazy, so you ask them “hey, did that hurt?’

The answer from my perspective is No! I’d love to tell you a universal answer “No, not at all”, but the answer is a little bit more complex then this. This is because being struck by any object going at 300fps (yes even a marshmallow) does have a feeling. If it’s not a tickle, or a great feeling massage, but it has a physical impact or point of contact then it must have some form of feeling right? Correct. So first we’ll discuss the statistics of injuries and scales of pain and then we’ll answer the question with how getting shot by a paintball feels.

If we are talking about being hurt in terms of injuries, you may just be surprised by what I’m about to tell you. If your definition of “hurt” is causing injury, then paintball does not “hurt”! In fact, paintball is factually and statistically one of the least likely physical activities to cause injury to the person playing. Lets take a look at the obvious contact sports like football in comparison. In football, there are on average 3.8 injuries per 100,000 exposures. This doesn’t seem surprising with the amount of contact happening to players being a normal part of the game, but many of these injuries are broken bones and concussions. Yet these extreme pains don’t seem to turn off potential new comers to the game.

How about injury in lower contact sports like Soccer? Soccer is a sport that doesn’t really allow for contact, and even cards and penalizes for minimal contact like slide kicks. However injuries can and do occur such as broken ankles and knee injuries, as well as broken hands and feet from being crushed by cleats! I can tell you from personal experience that this hurts…really hurts. 2.8 injuries per 100,000 exposures per year is the average for soccer.

Now in comparison…paintball is a 0 contact sport (standard rule at every field!), with the only thing striking each other is a gelatin sphere filled with water and coloring. The ball is limited to 300 fps, or 200 mph, and weighs about 3 grams. On top of being a far smaller impact then a tackle, or a baseball or a puck, the shell is thin and breaks on impact, which also spreads and dissipates the energy. The only negative effect to worry about is a small circular welt appearing. And statistically, there’s an average of .2 injuries per 100,000 exposures a year! And most of these have been proven to be user error (players tripping, incorrect use of equipment), not from intended aspects of the game like tackling is to football.

So what does being hit by a paintball on bare skin feel like? The best comparison would be to a quick slap or smack. So picture the quick stinging feel of a slap on the arm. You feel the impact; you shake off the stingy feeling for a few seconds, and then its gone. You have no feeling of the hit afterwards like more serious injuries. And with the added adrenaline from being shot at and shooting at others, you often don’t even feel that sting! Plus this is only on bare skin, where you may not even feel it through protective gear, or a thick sweater. You just notice a welt later on. So in short, being struck by a paintball may cause a fast temporary sting, but it does not hurt. And if by hurt, anything serious or lasting or more then a quick sting is meant, then No! It does not hurt to play the game of paintball! The looks of this projectile game may seem intimidating, but your actually watching one of the safest and least injury prone activities on earth!