What do Tim Tebow, John Wall, Venus Williams, Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Martina Navratilova, Joe Montana, Mookie Betts, and Babe Ruth all have in common (other than they play sports)?

They've all hit a wall...literally. Fortunately, most athletes recover from direct impact on a wall. In many cases, however, athletes have to leave a game or be carried off the field due to the severity of their injuries.

As you plan the design and layout of your athletic facilities, you need to consider the sports played in each facility. Some sports, like basketball and football, are more contact sports than volleyball or baseball. With this in mind, you need to do a full analysis of your facility and locate all areas that could prove dangerous in the chance of a collision.

What Happens When an Athlete Hits a Wall?

Hitting a wall in a gym or stadium is similar to sitting in the front seat during a car crash without an airbag. Your body has the same reflex, and your body parts suffer injuries in the same way. 

Most athletes are unaware of the lasting impact hitting a wall has on their bodies. Even worse, many athletes do not give their bodies time to properly heal because they downplay the event.

Although concussions are generally the main target of these discussions, a direct collision with a wall can also hurt other areas of your body, such as the neck, spine, knees, toes, joints, and muscles.

Simply put, if you run into a wall, the wall usually wins. Here are several serious injuries that can and do happen to athletes after running into a wall.

Brain Trauma

The brain can become detached from the inner skull (a.k.a. a concussion), and the skull can even fracture. Many fractures go untreated because the injury may be small enough not to be noticed at first.

Vertebrae & Cartilage

Another blow to the body in a wall impact is the crushing of vertebrae or cartilage in the spinal column. These injuries are generally felt immediately but can take forever to heal, even with aggressive surgery.

Sprains & Strains 

Sprains occur when a joint overextends and causes damage to a ligament. If the foot is the first body part to hit the wall, a sprain is almost inevitable. If the athlete tries to stop the impact with their arms or hands, a sprain can also occur in the fingers, wrists, or upper arms.


Cervical acceleration/deceleration injuries, commonly called whiplash, is a sprain/strain injury that occurs when the neck or spine is violently jerked due to the impact with a wall. The spinal ligaments, tendons, or muscles can overextend and lead to tissue damage.

Facial Injuries 

Facial injuries can occur even with protective gear. Most commonly, fractures happen in the nose, jaw, and cheekbone. These injuries can affect an athlete's ability to see, breathe, and eat, which can cause a feeling of helplessness and distress. Their physical appearance can also be affected, which can harm their self-esteem. 

Broken Bones

Wall impacts can also break bones, and while larger bones may take more pressure to become damaged, small bones in the fingers and hands can easily break. This complicates the person's ability to move correctly; other issues like swelling, pain, and tenderness are common.

Organ Damage 

When the abdomen experiences trauma, organ damage can occur. In most cases, the kidneys, pancreas, liver, and spleen are most likely to take damage, with the stomach, intestines, and bladder also at risk. The injury can result in internal bleeding and swelling of the organs, and the length of recovery can vary depending on the severity of the damage.

How These Injuries Affect the Person's Life 

Physical injuries not only limit the individual's ability to participate in regular activities they enjoy, but they also result in a high level of depression that can become debilitating for some individuals. Athletes may face denial of the injury and refusal to accept that they are injured. They may be unwilling to rest and let their body heal, making their injury worse and, in some cases, not repairable.

Additionally, going through a healing process after an injury can cause frustration if the body is not responding how it usually would. Tasks that were considered simple before the damage may now be more complicated, and they may need assistance completing the activity. Once they understand that they are injured, if they are unable to compete, this can increase their stress levels and affect their professional and personal lives.

Even if a collision doesn't cause a severe injury, it could cause a minor injury that leads to a more severe injury down the road. While these injuries can still happen if you invest in the proper safety equipment, the chances are significantly lower.

What Safety Products Should You Invest In?

Numerous studies have shown that running into a wall pad dramatically reduces the chances of suffering from severe injuries associated with a wall collision. 

Wall pads are reinforced with polyurethane foam. This sponge-like substance absorbs energy and keeps the athlete from making contact with the concrete wall. The body is less likely to feel the stress of collision, and the risk of injury is much lower. You should still analyze the entirety of your athletic facilities to assess any potentially dangerous spots. For sports like basketball and football, which are high-contact, you should invest in our wall pads for either indoor or outdoor facilities. 

Additionally, if you have any columns or poles in your gym or arena, you need to invest in post-padding to ensure any collisions with those are not harmful. We also offer wall padding for chain links and other fences, which are helpful around track and field arenas, football fields, baseball and softball diamonds, and other facilities. 

We also carry products to protect athletes and fans from harm in collisions with the bleachers or other surfaces. To learn more about our products, contact us today.

Protect Competitors From Injuries With Field Wall Pads! 

Field Wall Pads are specially designed sports wall pads to protect athletes during practice or competition. Customize your wall pads to fit any wall size or dimension, and place additional pads on the floor or at the ends of your bleachers – anywhere where the chance of impact is high.

To find out more about our safety products, call us at 800-257-6406 or message us on our contact page.