Paintballing with friends can be loads of fun, but it does come with the risk of possible injuries and — in worst cases — even death.
This is why participants are required to put on safety gear and equipment during a game, to avoid unwanted accidents and harm.
That said, safety equipment doesn’t necessarily completely protect your body. Certain body parts are left exposed, such as your legs, arms, neck, and head.
Today, we answer the important question of “Can you get a concussion from a paintball?” while also highlighting the important precautions to take to avoid dangerous repercussions.
- Can a Paintball Cause a Concussion?
- What Are the Common Symptoms of a Concussion?
- How Do You Protect Yourself (From Getting a Concussion) When Playing Paintball?
- What Other Injuries Can Paintballing Cause?
- Can Paintball Guns or Paintballs Be Fatal to People?
- The Bottom Line
Can a Paintball Cause a Concussion?
The short answer: yes.
Paintballs typically have an outer shell made from cellulose acetate, gelatin materials, or another form of plastic that’s tough enough to resist pressure inside the paintball gun barrel and soft enough to burst on impact with a target.
Manufacturers are often careful not to make paintballs too hard, which may lead to serious injuries.
Can a Paintball to the Head Give You a Concussion?
A paintball to the head can certainly cause a concussion. Additionally, it may even cause other injuries such as wounds and bruising on your head’s skin — especially when shot from a close distance.
What Are the Common Symptoms of a Concussion?
Concussions don’t have any physical identifiers, which is why they are much harder to diagnose compared to other injuries and conditions. You may have a scratch or a bruise that indicates you’ve been hit on the head by something, but this doesn’t always result in a concussion.
These are the most common symptoms people with concussions may experience:
- Ringing ears
- Blurry vision
Other subtler signs are even harder to link with a concussion, such as confusion or brain fog, as well as amnesia and slurred speech.
In some cases, a person may even experience personality changes, sensitivity to light or noise, psychological adjustment issues, smelling or tasting disorders, and finally, sleep disorders.
If you’ve been hit with a paintball to the head recently, and you’re worried you might have an undiagnosed concussion, contact your physician or health care provider immediately to get the proper treatment ASAP.
How Do You Protect Yourself (From Getting a Concussion) When Playing Paintball?
The most obvious way for you to protect yourself from getting a concussion is to wear the right protective equipment while playing paintball.
Most outdoor parks that offer paintballing activities to groups and parties typically provide protective equipment to players. This equipment should be made of high-quality materials and should meet industry safety standards.
Here’s what you should be wearing when you’re paintballing:
- Long-sleeved shirt to protect your arms
- Long pants to protect your legs
- A baseball cap or bandana to protect your hair/the crown of your head
- Running, hiking, or cleated shoes
- A padded vest
- A mask or goggles
Most goggles go all the way to your ears to protect them from getting hit by paintballs. Others cover the head completely, like a helmet.
If you’re comfortable with the helmet-type mask, consider using that when you go paintballing. It’s much more secure and will protect all areas of your head while playing.
On the other hand, if you’re not comfortable using helmet-type masks, using face-type masks is fine; however, make sure to remind everyone playing not to shoot anyone in many vital areas such as the neck or head.
Precaution is the best way to prevent accidents, unwanted accidents, and injuries.
What Other Injuries Can Paintballing Cause?
Concussions aren’t the only things you need to watch out for when playing paintball. Several other paintballing-related injuries may lead to permanent damage and suffering.
Here are a few other injuries that are caused by paintballing:
Surveys show that an estimated 85% of paintball-related injuries are eye injuries. Furthermore, around 40% of all eye-injury cases were recorded in young children, mostly boys. The types of eye injuries that were reported are as follows:
- Vitreous hemorrhages (eye-bleeding)
- Corneal abrasions
- Retinal detachments
- Commotio retina (retinal swelling or bruising)
These injuries often lead to more serious eye complications, even permanent visual impairment.
Getting hit by a paintball on the ear is more than just painful — it can cause partial or even permanent hearing loss in a patient. It can also cause a concussion if shot at a closer distance. Other injuries that may develop from a paintball shot to the air are a ruptured eardrum, cauliflower ear, and tinnitus.
Can Paintball Guns or Paintballs Be Fatal to People?
In a general sense, paintball guns are still considered firearms, which is why they are regulated in a similar way to conventional firearms.
When mishandled or used in inappropriate settings, paintballs and paintball guns can certainly be fatal to anyone who is subjected to its force and power.
For example, in 2004, a 37-year-old woman was killed after the back of her head was hit by a carbon dioxide canister that came loose from a paintball gun.
The said woman’s husband sued the paintball manufacturing company for distributing defective products and settled the case for $8 million.
A gun to the neck is another possible cause of death for a player or bystander. The force of a paintball to the neck can put significant pressure on the windpipe, which may constrict airflow, causing a victim to die from suffocation if not addressed immediately.
The Bottom Line
While paintballing can be a fun and exhilarating activity, it’s always wise to practice precaution when participating in games. Always make sure that everyone in your party or team is wearing the right protective gear. This way, everyone will be kept safe and secure, avoiding injuries and even death.
Furthermore, always practice safe paintball gun handling, especially when you’re out in public. You don’t want to accidentally shoot someone on a vital body part or unscrew the carbon dioxide canister on your gun.
Keep these in mind and you should be good to have a fantastic and injury-free time playing with your friends.