Safe grounds equipment and facilities are important for sport and physical activity in order to be conducted with minimal risk of injury. If grounds, equipment and facilities are not maintained in a safe and working order then the risk of injury to the athlete increases.
Sports and activities are held on various types of “grounds”. Many are played outside on fields, including football, AFL, gridiron, and cricket. While others are played inside on a court, such as basketball, badminton, netball, and volleyball. These are many different types of grounds for other activities such as marathon running, athletics, or cycling.
It is important that these grounds are kept in a safe order. It is dangerous to the athlete to play sports on fields that are uneven or have divots or holes in them. Such surfaces make injury more like and should not be used for sports competitions or physical activities. Other grounds may have water on them that makes them slippery, which is especially dangerous if the athlete is required to jump and change direction frequently. These grounds need to be kept safe and checked regularly in order to maintain safety for the athlete.
Sports and physical activity require equipment to be performed. Equipment includes the bicycle ridden during a triathlon, the shoes worn for all types of activities that involve running, whether this be road runs, or on a field such as touch football. Equipment needs to be kept in working order. This means bicycles are regularly serviced and checked before use, and shoes are replaced frequently as the soles wear out and the shock absorption decreases.
If equipment is not well maintained injuries result. This can be overuse injuries from running in old shoes, or acute injuries from being kicked in the shins through broken shin-pads. Broken bats, sticks or other equipment can also lead to injuries that could be avoided through maintenance of equipment to promote safety.
Furthermore, all equipment should suit the athlete using it. This is particularly important for children and young athletes, who use modified equipment to promote their safety. Smaller cricket bats, hockey masks and balls should be used to ensure the safety of the athlete. Other sports are very technical and the correct equipment helps decrease the occurrence of overuse injuries. This is the case in sports such as tennis and golf, where having the right sized and weighted racket or club can reduce injury.
Facilities refers to the venue and the surrounds where the activity takes place. This can include the pool facilities used during a swim meet, the availability of shade at a cricket match, or the stability of the goal posts during a futsal game. Facilities need to be safe both for the athletes and the spectators. Bathrooms should work, and running water and shade should be available. This helps to promote the wellbeing of the athlete and spectators of sports.
Safe facilities also ensures there is enough room around the court or field in case an athlete is tackled or runs off the ground at speed. This also relates to advertising boards and the placement of media to help ensure safety. For games played inside on courts, enough room is needed to slow down before the athlete runs into a brick wall or around the rugby field in case the winger is tackled off the field.
Safe grounds equipment and facilities help keep athletes safe to promote their wellbeing.