🥒🎾 Pickleball Pandemonium: Could Smacking a Wiffle Ball Cost Us $400M? 🚑💰
The latest sporting craze, pickleball, is resulting in a nationwide wave of sprains, strains, and fractures that could potentially set back Americans $377 million in healthcare costs. A fave among sprightly seniors, this supposedly innocuous game appears to be not-so-gentle on the joints and may be accountable for 5% to 10% of unexpected medical costs. What started as a simple pastime, has snowballed into an unforeseen public health issue, challenging our perceptions of risk, exercise, and recreational activity.
Hold up! You thought America’s fastest-growing sport was something glitzy and glamourous, like eSports or drone racing? Think again, folks! It’s pickleball. Now, for those of you wondering “what in the heck is pickleball?”, it’s essentially a mash-up of tennis, ping-pong, and badminton, and it seems like it’s causing a racket in the world of healthcare!🤕💊💸
Chasing the wiffle ball around may sound like innocent fun, but it seems that this game doesn’t play nice with the orthopedic health of our players. No kidding! A chunky 86% of pickleball-induced trips to the emergency department between 2010-2019 were made by folks over 60, revealing that pickleball is not quite the low-impact activity it’s often pegged to be.
Remember the good ol’ times when grandma knitting in the rocking chair was the stereotype? Well, today’s seniors are putting that image to rest and are showcasing their “can-do” attitude by smashing some balls around on the pickleball court. But at what cost?👵🎾👴🚑
A 2021 study showed about 60% of pickleball injuries were sprains, strains, and fractures, 20% were contusions, abrasions, or internal injuries, and fewer than 10% were lacerations or dislocations. Imagine Granny rolling into the Thanksgiving dinner with a bad case of pickleball elbow. Holiday spirit, anyone? 🦃🤷♀️🎄
And it’s not just the emergency room visits that are concerning. This year, analysts estimate around 366,000 outpatient visits and 9,000 outpatient surgeries will be tied to pickleball injuries. Talk about an unexpected game-changer! 😲👨⚕️💉
The rise of this pickleball phenomenon, particularly post-pandemic, could well be part of the issue. With player numbers skyrocketing from 3.5 million in 2019 to an estimated 22 million this year, it seems that we’re facing a pickleball epidemic, both on and off the court.📈🎾💔
And while we’re all for staying active and having fun, this sharp uptick in pickleball injuries sure makes us question the real cost of our recreational choices. Are we trading ping pong for pinched nerves? Is it worth it to trade the pickleball court for a trip to the emergency room?
🤔💭: As we all keep calm and pickle on, we should be asking ourselves: Is it time for stricter safety measures in pickleball, or should we just acknowledge that bruises, breaks, and bandages might be part of the package? And if you were a betting person, how much would you put on pickleball injuries costing more than $400 million next year? Can you fathom