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 into 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.

What Happens When an Athlete Hits a Wall

 Most athletes are unaware of the lasting impact hitting a wall has on their body. What’s even worse, is that many athletes do not give their body 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.

Hitting a wall in a gym or stadium is very 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. 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 notice 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 right away 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 referred to as whiplash, is a sprain/strain injury which 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, and 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 Can the Damage Affect the Person?

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 with getting the activity completed. Or 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.

Sports Wall Pads Reduce the Physical Trauma From a Wall Collision

Numerous studies have shown that running into a wall pad greatly 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 any kind of injury is much lower.

Protect Competitors From Injuries With Field Wall Pads!

Field Wall Pads specially design 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.