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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Patella

PICKLEBALL-A great way to make new friends, get in shape and have fun!

Pickleball originated in 1965. Congressman

Joel Pritchard and a couple of friends created it to overcome boredom during family gatherings.  They played with friends, taught others, and it slowly began to spread. Especially after the pandemic. The game became a great opportunity for older adults to get with friends and stay active.  However, Pickleball injuries were on the rise even before the pandemic. One report published in 2019 in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, estimated that there were 19,000 pickleball injuries in 2017, with 90 percent of them affecting people 50 and older.

In 2021 about 4 million people were playing the game.  By 2023 almost 9 million people around the world are playing Pickleball.  After the pandemic people sought ways to connect and stay active, and this is a great resource. Courts have cropped up everywhere.  It is an excellent game but just like any new sport - injuries occur.  Between $200 and $500 million in injuries are estimated to date.  Specifically shoulder, knee and ankle injuries.  Orthopedics report breaks resulting from falls and those of us with pre-existing conditions really take a hit.  With an increase in participants and courts, research has been done to keep participants safer with proper preparation to better enjoy the sport and limit your chances of injury.

What can we do?  As in any sport be prepared:

·         Warm up-stretch properly

·         Wear the right gear-court shoes for lateral movement and quick start and stops

·         Clothing that is moisture wicking and allows free movement

·         Make sure you have good balance, mobility and strength

·         Learn the game beforehand-get with a Pickleball Coach for a couple of lessons

By following these guidelines, you can prevent a trip to the emergency room and costly medical bills, and of course, avoid down time.

As an expert in injury prevention and how to prepare for physical activities, I have been interviewed on several top radio stations discussing Pickleball on prevention of injuries and how to prepare for the game.  Feel free to contact me for coach referrals and to better prepare you for the game enhancing your mobility, balance and strength.

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