Nov 22, 2011

Safety in Sports

Different sports have evolved over time, since the time they were first played. Some sports seem more dangerous than others do because of the amount of energy the players require, and the high risks involved. In some cases, the players and the fans pose more risk than the equipment used. This has been experienced when players were not satisfied with the results of the game and when they felt that a game was not fair. Some people have been injured in games and others have even died, for instance when they are scrambling to enter the field or stadium so that they can watch a game. Despite the risks involved, sports are fun and popular and most people spend their time enjoying their favorite sport. Some sports have remained popular through the years. Some sports have even been associated with different countries and regions. For instance, soccer is more popular in Europe than in other parts of the world. America enjoys a wide variety of sports. Some of the most common sports are baseball, football, basketball and hockey. The paper will highlight some of the rules that have evolved over the years, and the changes in equipment, which have contributed to ensuring safety in different sports.
The problem of safety in sports is of great importance to me. I became interested in the subject due to several reasons. I was concerned that although rules exist concerning different sports, some people do not follow them and they end up injuring their lives and even dying. The people who developed different sports did a commendable job by ensuring that safety was ensured, but despite this, some people do not follow the rules. Many people have ended up in hospitals and some of them have realized an end to their dreams because of the injuries they sustained. Some people do not like sports because they lack the necessary information concerning safety in sports. I believe that if they knew all the measures that have been put to ensure safety, they would all enjoy the games played. This would bring more people to the stadiums to watch the events, and it would reduce the number of people who choose to watch the game on television. Safety is indeed important and beneficial in sports. Sport officials and organizations need to be aware of rising safety concerns and they should be ready to improve safety by changing the rules, instilling stiffer penalties and ensuring the use of better equipment. .
Baseball is one of the oldest sports in the country. It has evolved over time to incorporate new rules and better equipment. Most of the penalties used in the sport are instilled when players are involved with drugs. Before 1921, players could manipulate the outcome of the game by using spitballs. This happened when the players intentionally put another object on the ball. The substance could be anything that the player thought of and this had disastrous effects. In the seventies, a rule was established, which ensured that players used the recommended bat in the game. Players who used a flat bat or one which had been doctored in any other way would be suspended. The rules however changed in 1921. In 2008, television replays were allowed to determine whether there were any foul balls in the game and this ensured fairness.
Researchers involved in game safety have proposed measures to ensure safety especially among the young players. When the game was first developed and during the early years, it was considered a man’s game. No women or children were allowed to play. However, times have changed and children learn the game at a very young age. This means that more risks are involved. Sport equipment developers, parents and different organizations and institutions have called for the use of better equipment in the sport, especially when children are playing. A significant number of children have died, especially due to the impact of hardball. Doctors and physicians note the importance of teaching children how to form better pitching habits at an early age (Lyman et al. 2002). They have advocated the use of helmets, softer baseballs, chest and heart guards, batting vests and face guards to prevent the children from injury.
These type of equipment used today was not heard of during the early years of baseball development. Adult players also wear a lot of protective gear when they are playing to prevent injury. This includes gloves, shin guards and helmets among others (International Symposium on Safety in BAS, Francis and Earl, 1997). It is important to consider the type of field being used and the lighting available. This is because some fields are not marked appropriately and they pose a danger to the players. Lighting is important as it protects the players and the spectators. The spectators need to see the ball so that they can prevent themselves from injury (Nohr, 2009).
Basketball is one of the few games that have evolved and changed dramatically over the years. The rules, equipment and penalties of the game have changed since it was first created in the late nineteenth century. During the early years of development of the modern game, players did not dribble the ball. Players were required to dribble only one time using both hands. One person in the team was usually chosen to shoot all the free throws, regardless of who had been fouled. Coaches could not talk to the players during the game. In the late sixties, the dunk was made illegal during warm ups and during training. Many of the players today would not play the game under such rules, as some would consider them severe. The inventor of the game would hardly recognize the game as it is played today. Many of the rules have changed and perhaps the only concept that has remained of the original idea is that the ball goes through the hoop.
Many of the changes, which are effective today, have made the game better and they have popularized the game. For instance, coaches can ask for breaks and they can address the players during the game. They advise the team on the strategies to use and the weaknesses of the opponent teams. They also take the opportunity to correct and motivate the players. The dunk is one of the most entertaining elements in the sport and the spectators wait to see which player will be the most creative. It gives the players a chance to show off their skills and to gauge each other. The first game was played using a soccer ball and two peach baskets. The baskets and the ball have since developed over time. The first basketball was made by using cowhide and rubber bladder, and it had laces. Basketball was one of the earliest games, which incorporated women, although they had their own rules. Men were not allowed to watch the first game played by women. Whereas the men were playing five-aside game, the women played six-aside game and this continued for a long time.
Early games were tough and they resembled a football game to some extent. The players and the spectators contributed to increasing the risk of injury. The spectators sometimes interfered when the players were playing. They sometimes directed the ball to the opposite side as the players reached near the basket. Before the rule of five players each side started, there was no defined number of players. In some cases, there were as many as a hundred players in the court. The rules also dictated that once a ball went outside the court, the player who would be the first to touch the ball would get the chance to handle the ball and shoot. This meant that all the players usually waited for such an opportunity. They scrambled for the ball and this led to many injuries (Herzog 2002).
The rules that have developed over the years have continued to make the game better. They have ensured that spectators have no chance of interfering with the game and this has enhanced fairness. They have also ensured that spectators and players have minimal risk of injury. The rules that had been preserved for women’s games were eliminated and this meant that they could also enjoy the game as the men did (Dubey). The ball and the basket are the main equipment used in the sport. The rules, the penalties in fouls and the development of the equipment have contributed to making basketball the enjoyable game it is today.
American football is one of the toughest games in the country. It is largely influenced by rugby and football. Unlike other sports, the players were not interested in playing for a single team. The players usually switched teams and preferred playing for the team that offered them better incentives. There was no body or organization to check the progress of the sport since the American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920. The association was later named the National Football League. The decision to form the league changed the course of the game for the better. For instance, the league ensured that players did not switch teams as often as they used to. One of the most instrumental people in the game was Walter Camp. He introduced several changes to the game. He established the number of players as eleven, allowed tackling at the waist, reduced the size of the field, changed scoring rules and time and introduced paid referees and umpires (White, 2010).
The players have to listen to the referee’s whistle and the game usually stops once it is blown. Any player who advances beyond the line of the ball when the game is about to begin is usually designated as an off side and his team is bound to pay a penalty. Players are not expected to use their hands and arms to detain a player from the other side who is holding the ball. Failure to do this, results to loss of the ball. The players can also loose ten yards of distance. Players are not expected to tackle their opponents below the knees, use a closed fist when striking, use unnecessary roughness, throttle or trip up. Players are not expected to wear weapons such as projecting nails, iron plates.
The three important officials in a game include the referee, linesman and umpire. The umpire makes decisions concerning the conduct of the players, the referee follows the ball, and he decides any question regarding the ball and the linesman marks the distance after each down (Camp et al. 2010). The penalties and the rules established in the sport made it saner and safer to watch and play. People found the game more enjoyable since they knew that all the players would make it in the end. American football is one of the most popular sports in the country and people should enjoy it to the fullest. There are still cases of violence reported at different games. However, the sport organization is working to ensure that safety measures are upheld.
Hockey is considered one of the most dangerous games because of all the risks involved. Players have to protect themselves from each other and from the equipment they are using. Fights during hockey games are common. Some of the protective gears, which every player must have, include hockey pants, helmets, mouth and shin guards, and shoulder pads among others (Nohr, 2009). Early players were not as protected as the modern day players are. They protected themselves by wearing thick sweaters and gloves and this was not effective. Some of them died and others sustained serious injuries (Johnson, 2009). Creighton is credited for developing the modern day hockey. Together with some of his friends, they combined different elements of soccer, polo and rugby when developing the game.
As the game continued to develop, the number of players changed from nine to seven and the puck changed from rubber to a block of wood and eventually to rubber disks (McComb, 2004). The development of modern ice hockey is Europe, although many countries played the game differently. Before the development of the rules concerning the use of protective gear, many players suffered facial injuries. Their mouths were injured and some of them were blinded. The development of national standards decreased the risk of injuries tremendously and this led to reduced health care costs. The sport continued to develop and players sustained injuries in other areas such as shoulders, knees and spinal cord. This meant that researchers and other stakeholders had to establish ways of ensuring maximum safety for the players.
There are many penalties in hockey. Players get penalties for tripping, hooking, spearing and slashing. When the players receive a penalty, they have to quit playing and sit in the penalty box (Johnson, 2009). Women were at the forefront in ensuring the success of the game. They played hard and they encouraged others to take up the game. Ice hockey has not managed to penetrate to different parts of the world because it is played on ice. Some of the counties in Asia and Africa do not experience snow and they do not have the infrastructure required when playing the game. This means that only countries in Europe and North America enjoy the game (McComb, 2004).
Baseball, basketball, ice hockey and football are the major games in America. All the sports have evolved since they were first created. Developers have examined different ways through which they can make the games better. They have improved the first types of equipment that were used when playing the games. The introduction of penalties in the different games has ensured that players play the sport by the rules. They have reduced the risks associated with different sports. Players no longer have to fear the thought of having long-term injuries. Although the sport developers have done their best to ensure safety in sports, some spectators and players insist on breaking the rules. This has sometimes caused major disasters in the games. Stricter penalties, such as suspension from games, will ensure that the players maintain the required discipline. It will ensure that families come together to watch their favorite sports.