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Pickleball is Fun, But Injuries Are a Reality

Pickleball is a sport that is rising in popularity all across the country.  If you’ve never played, you’ve surely at least heard of it. But – what, exactly, is it?  Think of pickleball as badminton, ping pong, and tennis all rolled into one.  It is described by sportsimports.com as, “appropriate for players of all ages and skill levels. Rules for pickleball are simple, making it a great introductory sport. It can also be quite a challenging, fast-paced, and competitive game when people become more experienced at playing.”

Many people who don’t think they’ll enjoy it often fall in love with the sport after just one game, but along with all the healthy competition, fun, and comradery can come those not-so-fun injuries.  And with the growth of this much-loved sport, the injuries will become more and more widespread. 

Pickleball Statistics 

Because the sport is growing in popularity, the places to play and the number of people playing are inevitably growing too.  According to the 2023 USA Pickleball Annual Growth Report, there were more than 1,000 new locations to play the sport added across the country.  What’s more, membership is already at 15% more than it was in 2023. 

The report reads, “Pickleball continues to be embraced across the nation at the recreational and competitive level and by players of all levels and backgrounds. USA Pickleball’s governance, coupled with the commitment to provide and support forward-facing new programs, initiatives, membership offerings, sanctioned tournament opportunities and strategic partnerships drive this success. USA Pickleball Membership supports what is needed for all players, at all levels, as pickleball continues to grow and evolve”.

Pickleball Injuries

If you or someone you know is playing pickleball (or plans to do so), it’s important to know that injuries aren’t uncommon.  CBS News ran a story recently highlighting the harsh realities, explaining that “Over the past two years, the number of pickleball-related injuries has nearly doubled, from just under 9,000 in 2020, to just over 17,000 in 2022, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Since 2018, the popular paddles have been responsible for more than 60,000 emergency room visits, per CPSC data, and approximately 75% of those injured during that time were between the ages of 55 and 75.”

Preventing Pickleball Injuries

One of the best ways you can prevent pickleball injuries is regular exercise outside of playing the sport.  Being in good shape to support all the effort it takes to play pickleball with success is a great start, and add in some stretching, and low-impact movement. The better you prepare, the less likely you could be to experience one of the more common injuries related to the sport. 

Speaking of injuries related to pickleball, check out the 2nd part of this Pickleball series, where we cover the most common pickleball injuries and how treatment can help get you back on the court. 


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