Providing safe sports equipment is crucial for the enjoyment and protection of players, fans, and personnel in your facility. As always, it’s important to have a certified installer routinely inspect your sports equipment to assess its condition, make recommendations regarding replacements, and determine if there are any safety concerns that need to be addressed. Check out our list of the five most important safety products you should have installed in your gymnasium.
Equipment Locks & Safety Straps
Locks and safety straps are designed to prevent ceiling-hung and wall-mounted gym equipment from falling in the event of a cable or winch failure. If the equipment were to malfunction and start to fall, the lock or strap would engage and stop the unit from creating more damage and possibly injuring players, fans, or facility personnel. Safety straps should always be installed with non-stationary ceiling-hung and wall-mounted basketball systems, and equipment locks should always be used with mat storage systems and electrically-operated divider curtains.
Padding is an inexpensive and effective way to make your gym equipment safer by preventing injuries when athletes come in contact with sports structures. Backboards should be padded to prevent head and hand injury. Volleyball uprights and referee stands should also be covered with pads to lessen the chance of players getting hurt when bodily contact occurs. In addition, walls, columns, and beams should be padded, especially if they are in close proximity to the play space or are located in heavy play environments.
Tempered Glass Backboards with Breakaway Rims
If your facility uses glass basketball backboards, make sure that you’re purchasing boards manufactured with tempered glass. Tempered glass is defined as toughened glass that has been treated by heat or chemicals to increase its strength. Tempered glass also reduces the risk of injury to players due to its nature of breaking into small circular pieces instead of sharp jagged shards, in the unlikely event of a board shattering.
It is also strongly recommended that you use a breakaway rim with your glass board, in conjunction with a “direct goal” attachment. A direct goal attachment means that the board, rim, and backstop are all connected together at the same location on the unit. This will help disperse a large portion of the load put on the system away from the board, helping to prevent breakage of the glass if excessive dunking occurs on the rim.
Mast Retainer Safety Bolts
The mast retainer safety bolts are located on the single post mast of a ceiling-suspended basketball structure and are a crucial component of the system to ensure the safety of players and personnel, as well as to prevent damage to the equipment. The safety bolts are located at the bottom of the mast behind the backboard, underneath the bottom mast clamp U-bolt. A quick look by a manufacturer’s representative can determine if the safety bolts are present on your mast, and they should also be able to recommend a local certified installer who can install the bolts if needed.
Floor Sleeve Cover Plates
Traditional indoor volleyball systems are typically installed in floor sleeves that are installed into gymnasium flooring. Depending on the post size, the sleeves can create holes with inside diameters of anywhere between 3” and 4” and depths of 12” or more. Ideally, cover plates should be purchased and installed in conjunction with the floor sleeves in order to cover the sleeve holes whenever the volleyball uprights are in storage areas or otherwise not installed in the sleeves. If installed properly (flush with flooring and locks are closed), cover plates can prevent tripping or limbs getting stuck in the floor sleeve holes.