Dodgeball

01 Overview

Dodgeball involves two teams attempting to hit opposing players with balls, while not being hit themselves. The 2004 movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story helped to popularize the sport. Dodgeball Canada is a group of volunteers engaging participants, coaches, and officials. Although there has been controversy around dodgeball in schools, it continues to be enjoyed in BC. Common injuries include the shoulder, ankle, and head.

(see Section 04 - Prevention)
Athlete silhouette
View Common Injuries by clicking the blue dots on the silhouette

Ankle injury can result from jumping and quick changes in direction to avoid the ball.

Shoulder injury or pain can result from repetitive throwing in dodgeball.

Hits to the head or body can result in concussion. Individuals on the same team may collide while trying to avoid or secure the ball. Most dodgeball leagues and recreational games prohibit targeting the head.

02 Injury Statistics

Dodgeball injuries presenting to the BC Children’s Hospital emergency department averaged six injuries per year from 1992 to 2004. From 2012 to 2014, an average of 28 dodgeball injuries presented to BC Children’s Hospital emergency department each year. Of these, 66% were between the ages 10 to 14 years old. Males made up 60% of emergency department visits to BC Children’s Hospital. The leading type of injury presenting was fracture at 40%; over half of these fractures were to the finger or thumb.

Curious about the research on injuries?

From 2012 to 2014, BC Children's Hospital emergency department saw that:

03 Risk Factors

There is currently no evidence regarding the risk factors for dodgeball injury.

04 How can I prevent injury?

Some muscle soreness or joint pain is expected when increasing your level of physical activity. It is important to listen to your body for persistent or worsening pain, and to know when to rest. Learn more about how to prevent injuries in dodgeball.

  • Participant & Parent

    Talk to your coach or organization, if applicable, about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Dodgeball is a throwing sport with a risk of shoulder injury. Incorporating a shoulder injury prevention program into warm-up routines can increase control, flexibility, and coordination. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder, knee, and ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in injury.

    Click here to view poster.

    Managing Concussion

    Concussions in dodgeball can occur from being hit with a ball or colliding with another player. It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for participants and parents to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Dodgeball can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce the risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Coach & Teacher

    Talk to your organization or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Dodgeball is a throwing sport with a risk of shoulder injury. Incorporating a shoulder injury prevention program into warm-up routines can increase control, flexibility, and coordination. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder, knee, and ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in injury.

    Click here to view poster.

    Managing Concussion

    Concussions in dodgeball can occur from being hit with a ball or colliding with another player. It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for coaches and teachers to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely on implementing dodgeball in elementary schools.

    Learn more about implementing dodgeball in your school.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Dodgeball can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce the risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Official & Administrator

    Talk to your coaches, teachers, organization, or school about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Dodgeball is a throwing sport with a risk of shoulder injury. Encouraging your coaches and teachers to incorporate a shoulder injury prevention program into warm-up routines can increase control, flexibility, and coordination. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder, knee, and ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Encouraging players, their parents, coaches, and officials to include a well-rounded training program into their warm-up at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in lower body injuries.

    Click here to view poster.

    Managing Concussion

    Concussions in dodgeball can occur from being hit with a ball or colliding with another player. It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safely on implementing dodgeball in elementary schools.

    Learn more about implementing dodgeball in your school.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Dodgeball can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce the risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Health Professional

    The role of health professionals in preventing dodgeball injuries has two main components:

    1. Providing ongoing education to players, parents, and coaches on effective injury prevention programs such as balance and resistance training; and
    2. Ensuring that injured players are completely healed and fit-to-perform before returning to dodgeball to prevent re-injury or chronic injury.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    Dodgeball is a throwing sport with a risk of shoulder injury. Incorporating a shoulder injury prevention program into warm-up routines can increase control, flexibility, and coordination. The risk of all lower body injuries may be reduced by up to 50% by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the shoulder, knee, and ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent shoulder injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent knee injuries.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports. Incorporating a warm-up program like this one into your training program at least two times per week has been associated with a significant reduction in injury.

    Click here to view poster.

    Managing Concussion

    Concussions in dodgeball can occur from being hit with a ball or colliding with another player. It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Dodgeball can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. A sport-related physical evaluation at the beginning of each season ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce the risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about preparticipation physical evaluation.

    Learn more about Preparticipation Physical Evaluation.