In any full-contact sport, no matter how many rules are in place to protect players, accidents happen. But what do sports leagues do to prevent this from happening?
While injuries happen on the pitch, the IQA has been working hard to make the sport safer while still maintaining the competitive spirit of the game. The IQA has taken many precautions to prevent injuries, especially at tournaments like the world cup. Jim Clover, an adjunct professor of sports medicine at California State University San Bernardino, was present at World Cup VI.
“[The IQA] had, [at the world cup,] a complete complement of athletic trainers that were very competent and had the supplies to provide the best care possible to the athletes,” he said.
Additionally, there was a three-fold reduction in players requiring emergency medical attention from World Cup V to World Cup VI, mostly due to safer rules and better officiating.
While the IQA strives to make the sport as safe as possible, it recognizes that injuries happen. Clover noted that he believes that contusions and sprains are the most common injuries in the sport. Clark agreed, adding that in addition to those injuries, “the most common, more severe type [of] injury would be concussions or collarbone injuries.” The IQA recommends that at all official tournaments, EMTs and athletic trainers are available onsite. While the price varies depending on the size, location, and company used, former World Cup Logistics Director Alex Clark stated that the average price for an athletic trainer is $35 per hour, and an EMT and ambulance cost approximately $150 per hour.
Clark explained that the IQA is working to improve the safety of the sport by working with experts in other fields, such as rugby, football, and medicine.
“These experts are people like NFL players, or medical experts like Jim Clover,” Clark said.
Some of this advice has already been implemented. Clark noted that the IQA has already taken Clover’s advice to implement a baseline Standardized Assessment of Concussion, which helps medical personnel diagnose athletes faster and more accurately.
In addition to working with experts, the IQA’s league-wide insurance policy for all official members will also help to treat injuries by making it easier for players to get help because they will not have to worry about the cost of care.
While the IQA has worked hard to make the sport safer, there are still many improvements that could be made. Clover noted, “I spoke with [IQA Commissioner] Alex Benepe about putting [a] ‘[Sports] Medicine First Aid Book’ together for quidditch.’” He added, “We can improve the safety of our athletes by implementing training on how to hit and be hit without putting either party at unnecessary risk; we can publicly implement a set of policies on concussions, and, finally, we can create a manual on the common injuries of quidditch and how to deal with them in any practical situation.”
In order to further protect players, Will Hack, IQA gameplay director, noted that there are precautions within the rulebook to ensure that there are fewer injuries: “Most of our rules concerning safety are ‘bans’ - the ban on hitting below the knees, the ban on headbutting, the [ban] on unnecessary force. However, our proactive rules are just as important. For example, the rulebook now states that if play has to be stopped for an injury, that player must leave the pitch before play can restart. This way, a team will have a chance to evaluate the severity of an injury, instead of a player getting up and playing immediately when he might be a poor judge of his own health.”