What should I consider when reviewing an athletic venue?

When looking at the conditions of the field, court, or sports arena, it's important to consider the surface of the field. Various factors can increase an athlete’s risk of injury. Such factors include grass length and quality (are there holes or divots in the grass that an athlete may step in or get stuck in?), as well as the type of field (is the football/soccer field grass or artificial turf?).

If you are inspecting a basketball court, make sure there are no dips, slopes, or loose floorboards, and that there is no raised edge on the court where an athlete could step off of and sprain his ankle or cause other harm.

Track surfaces also need to be inspected. Is the track rubber, gravel, dirt, or concrete? Harder track surfaces may result in overuse injuries to athletes, and gravel or dirt surfaces may predispose an athlete to trip and fall.

The playing surface needs to be inspected for wetness or puddles on the field or court. Athletes may slip and fall in standing water, and chances of injury increase dramatically if the surface is wet or slippery and athletes are not made aware of such conditions.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Washington State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.