Have you ever been in the middle of an intense game only to have it dampened by an oncoming rain shower? You probably heard someone say, “A little rain never hurt anybody.” Rain might seem harmless enough, but plenty of athletes have experienced otherwise.
The next time someone tries to convince you that playing a sport in the rain is completely safe, here are a few anecdotes that you can toss back at them.
Lightning on the course
One of the silliest things you can do is walk around a clearing in a thunderstorm with a long metal rod. Unfortunately, common sense sometimes escapes die-hard golfers.
PGA players are relatively safe, as tournament organizers are quick to remove players when lightning starts to flash. By doing so, they’ve kept thousands of players safe during inclement weather, but the PGA Tour hasn’t always been so eager to remove players during rainy and stormy conditions.
In 1975 during the Western Open, lightning struck not one but 4 players. Play was halted for a short period due to rain, but as it cleared up, players resumed the match. Unfortunately, lightning quickly struck two players, Lee Trevino and Jerry Heard. In another group, Bobby Nichols was struck along with a scorer not far from him. Finally, another strike hit Tony Jacklin’s 8 iron and knocked it from his hands. Jacklin was the only player not taken to hospital, although he reported tingling in his hands and an odd burning taste in his mouth. All players survived, but it would have been a scary day to be out on the course for everyone!
Slippery Conditions on the Court
It’s not just lightning that can cause injury, even a light drizzle could hurt a competitor. This year at Wimbledon, Annika Beck suffered an injury to her ankle that was attributed mostly to the slippery conditions.
The game started fine and Beck was in good form. The rain that had been falling all day, though, began to take its toll on the court. Not long after Beck mentioned the slippery conditions to the umpire, she slipped and landed hard. A medical timeout was called to allow trainers to deal with her injury, but the game was suspended due to the rain while she was being attended to. Had the suspension been called earlier, Annika Beck could have avoided a potentially game-threatening injury.
Soccer Rain Injuries
This one injury is too common to the sport, that most everyone will already have a story! Soccer games are notorious for playing through the rainiest weather conditions that you can imagine.
If you can picture the last rainy game you’ve watched or played in, there were likely numerous accounts of injured players removed from the field. The nature of the sport—running, jumping, and sliding—means playing outdoors in the rain will undoubtedly result in injury.
If any of these stories tell you one thing: playing soccer, tennis, or golf in the rain might not be such a hot idea. The next time the sky opens up during your game, you may want to call it quits. Or, better yet, move that game indoors into a Farley multisport dome.