The Wimbledon Controversy: Environmental Safety in Sports

The recent incident during the Women’s Division of the 2017 Wimbledon tennis tournament sparked controversy because several players had been complaining about the court conditions claiming it was slippery on the thin grass. One of the female contenders slipped and sustained a dislocated kneecap/patella with a ruptured patellar tendon requiring surgery.

Open fields are subject to weather conditions. So, there are some delays or even postponement in games when there is rain, sleet or snow. However, there should always be a contingency for safety measures. There are facility managers that ensure safety inspections are regularly performed and legally passed.

Equipment is also inspected for safety and ease of use. We have seen gymnasts utilize powder to minimize a slippery surface and enhance grip. Gloves, mitts, body armor and protective gear are used in contact sports. Footwear is also significant, hence the use of cleats when playing soccer or football.

So, when that Zamboni comes out or when a group of cleaners clears the playing court/field, they are necessary and important members of the game to ensure that ice or sweat do not become too slippery and become dangerous to our athletes.

By:  Ma. Michelle Q. Cruz, PT, DPT, OCS, CSST

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