Whether you are just attending a Learn-To-Curl or have been Curling for 15+ years, safety should be your first concern. Curling does not have safety gear. Sure there are gloves to protect your hands from getting a blister from sweeping to hard, but that’s as much of a safety feature as it is in golf. What is it about Scottish games not using anything other than gloves for protection? 🙂
In curling, there is very little risk of injury, so helmets and pads are not a neccessity. If you travel the curling circuits, you will find players wearing skateboard helments and elbow pads, but it is rare. I’m glad to see these people realize their limitations and ensure their own safety. I have been Curling since I was 13-ish. I’ve taken my fair share of falls and seen many ‘expert’ curlers do the same. In fact earlier this year, I did not give enough respect and thought to the fact that I was on ice and fell while walking. Oh did that hurt! The next week my team-mate did a similar fall. And if you watched the Olympics, even Kevin Martin (skip for Canada) almost fell while traversing the sheet after his shot; and he was probably on the ice more than not over the 6 month period leading up to the Olympics.
When you throw a stone, there is a good change you might fall over while trying to balance. I have yet to see anyone get hurt doing this. Its less of a fall and more of a collapse or roll. The two main accidents in Curling are falling while standing, walking, or sweeping OR being hit by a broom. Being hit by a broom typically only happens if someone falls and the broom is whipped while trying to stop themselves from falling.
The way to protect yourself best is: to not fall. Sounds simple, right? Well there are 2 VERY easy ways to avoid falling:
- Remember that you are on ice and not on concrete, so keep your weight over your legs as much as possible.
- Get yourself equipment that will help prevent falling! The biggest cause of falls is slipping on ice. Street shoes are not made for ice – especially in Southern California. There are curling shoes that will drastically improve your game by improving your control and balance, but they cost about $100 – $250+. There are great deals at Dakota Curling Supplies on some currently. If you’re new to curling or just don’t want to spend that kind of money on shoes for Curling at this time, then the next best option is to buy 2 grippers. A gripper is a very soft piece of rubber that fits over your street shoes and improves the traction on the ice by approximately 7,000%. This rubber never freezes up, like shoe rubber does, so it will remain as effective the last 5 minutes on the ice as it does in the first 5 minutes. The cost for 2 grippers is about $35.00 In terms of safety, they will pay for themselves in one night. Dakota Curling Supplies has these for sale; they are called a “Slip-on Gripper“. Remember, members get a discount with Dakota Curling Supplies!
The only other piece of equipment that some curlers use, is wrestling knee pads. No curling did not become a contact sport. These soft flexible knee pads are at any sporting store for cheap. If you drag your back knee on the ice when delivering or tend to find that your drag knee bumps into the ice when delivering, these pads will give you that extra bit of protection against brusing your knee.
Curling is a fun sport that rarely sees injury. So if this will be your 1st time on the ice or your 100th, please consider getting 2 Grippers or Curling Shoes to help you keep your balance so that Curling can fully be about the fun and social aspect of the game.