Safety in Quidditch: A Pre-Report

Zach D'Amico has found a home in quidditch in his ...
Zach D'Amico has found a home in quidditch in his recent years as he has climbed the ladder to become a respected and educated voice about quidditch. His leadership skills extend to captaining Team USA at the IQA Summer Games, and his experience and knowledge led to an appointment to the IQA Board of Directors.   By Zach D'Amico Junior Director on the Board International Quidditch Association   I. Safety Issues in Quidditch Based on interviews and surveys of current and former quidditch players, spectators, and my knowledge of the game, I have concluded that the following injuries are what quidditch must focus most on.

A. Head and Neck injuries

Some of the most common yet most dangerous injuries in quidditch, these must be prevented. Head injuries consist mostly of concussions, which arise from collisions both with other players as well as the ground. Neck injuries also come as a result from falls to the ground, as keeping one hand on the broom (and possibly one with a ball) results in less ability to break one's fall.

B. Injured Collarbones and Arms

Another common type of injury in quidditch is the broken or fractured collarbone. Also partially a result of players never being able to use two hands to break their falls, these also come from the lack of athletic experience among many quidditch players. Breaking one's fall with one arm, especially if that arm is not in the correct position, often results in an injured collarbone. In addition, having to keep one's broom-arm stable while falling can result in a broken arm. While these are not as dangerous or potentially life- threatening as head and neck injuries, the rate of broken collarbones and arms is far too high in quidditch.

C. Injured Fingers

Broken fingers and thumbs must not be overlooked, though they appear much less important than the prior two types of injuries. Quidditch is a unique sport, in that each player needs all ten fingers working properly. In order to hold a broom, all fingers must be healthy, and the same goes for a bludger, quaffle, or snitch. Not only does each player need all extremities working, but because they are used so often, the majority has had some sort of finger injury ranging from a minor sprain to a break. The major issue arises because most players don't see a finger issue as enough reason to stop playing, and therefore continue to participate. With the constant use of these parts, it is near impossible for full recovery while still playing. Broken fingers, especially thumbs, that do not heal properly, can cause serious problems later in life.

D. General Safety

II. Prevention

A. Inform the Community

Informing the community is something that can and should be done as soon as possible. Most players are not aware of proper technique in falling, tackling, and other safety protocol.

1. Announcements and Bulletins

The quidditch community is extremely connected today. Using tumblr, facebook, and the IQA website to put out bulletins regarding safety, basic methods of precaution and identification of injuries, and other useful tips would help to educate a large amount of players and enthusiasts.

2. Training Sessions

Training sessions held at colleges and areas with high team density is a great way to help instruct on proper techniques for safety. These can be taught by experienced athletes and coaches, whether or not they are involved with quidditch.

B. New Requirements

New requirements and changes in the way the game is played and what is expected of players would be the most effective way of reducing injuries in quidditch.

1. Injury Identification

From personal experience, as well as talking to others, the worst injuries come when a player continues to play with a minor or major injury. This can be especially fatal when concerning head and neck injuries, but nevertheless is the case with all injuries. Whether a medic or a coach, each team must be required to have a person well-versed in injuries, and with the authority to keep that player from play.

2. Change in the Rules

Although drastic, player safety is by far the most important thing in quidditch. Any rule changes deemed necessary to improve player safety must be considered.

III. Safety Panel—who?

A. Football

Football is a full-contact sport just like quidditch. Football has a long history of problems with concussions, and these players wear pads and helmets whenever playing. Players and coaches at all levels would be able to provide invaluable insight into safety in quidditch.

B. Rugby

In terms of general safety, this is the sport most similar to quidditch. It contains similar levels of contact and similar lack of padding, with the crucial difference of not having a broomstick.

C. Hockey/Lacrosse

Though very different from quidditch in many ways, both hockey and lacrosse require their players to handle sticks (just as quidditch does). These are also physical games, and players must learn how to hit and how to fall while holding onto their sticks. They, as well as trainers, medics, and coaches, could help both in advising the IQA and training its players.