Softball Safety Brief


Navy losses involving softball for FY 88 through 92 include 590 injuries resulting in five or more lost workdays. A total of 13,039 days were lost from work. Injuries commonly involve the knee, ankle, lower leg and hand. The average time from work is 22 days.


A review of softball mishaps show most injuries are caused by lack of conditioning, improper sliding techniques, and collisions.


The following are typical of mishap reports submitted to the Naval Safety Center:

  • An SN made a diving leap at a ball hit to shallow right field. His head impacted the right fielder's leg at full speed causing compression and crushing of three vertebrae. Permanent paralysis of both legs and his right arm has cost the Navy a young sailor whose only mistake was to be a little too aggressive chasing down a fly ball.
  • A LCDR slid late into a stationary base, broke his ankle and lost 30 days from work.
  • BU3 was running after a fly ball and misjudged how far away he was from the cement wall. He stuck his hand out to cushion the impact. He shattered his wrist. Pins were placed in his wrist. He lost 12 days from work.
  • While running to the outfield to catch a fly ball, SN and his teammate collided. He fell to the ground ant the other player stepped on his leg. He sustained a compound fracture to his leg. He lost 48 days from work.
  • FC2 was going after a fly ball and stepped into a hole. He hyperextended his knee. He received a fracture leg and lost 90 days from work.


Recommendations include the following:

  • Inspect the playing field before the game for pot holes, slippery areas and obstructions.
  • Wear rubber cleats or good quality athletic shoes.
  • Do not wear metal cleats.
  • Don't drink alcoholic beverages before or during play.
  • Do stretching exercises and warmups for 10 to 15 minutes preceding play, as well as between innings.
  • Enforce a no-sliding rule during command sponsored picnics and all pickup games when stationary bases are used.
  • Use break-away or safety bases, which allow the base to absorb the shock from an improper slide vice the leg, ankle or foot. Always use proper sliding techniques. Coaches should provide guidance on sliding safely.
  • Designate the center fielder to call players off outfield fly balls. In the infield, the shortstop should be assigned this job. These precautions will help reduce collisions.
  • Spectators should stay away from sidelines unless fencing material is at least eight feet high. Some people have been seriously injured when struck by overthrown balls while seated in this area.
  • Don't tolerate unnecessary horseplay and unsportsmanlike conduct.


Amateur Softball Association of America 
P. O. Box 11437 
Oklahoma City, OK 73111

American Alliance of Health, Physical Fitness, Education and Recreation 
1900 Association Drive 
Reston, VA 22091