Slackline injuries are on the rise

Slacklines are flexible tightropes made from flat, nylon webbing placed about four feet off the ground. The lines are like a thin trampoline. And, as reported in multiple medical articles, trampolines are dangerous! People mainly walk on slacklines but they also do tricks such as back flips and even yoga poses. Walking the line is therapeutic and improves core strength, balance, peace of mind and focus.

A simple slackline requires very few resources but a lot of space. All that’s required is a length of nylon, tubular webbing and a few carabineers. For longer liners, more complicated pulley systems are used to stretch the line tighter.

Slacklines are usually stretched between two trees, making city parks a hypothetically ideal location. However, most municipal codes explicitly prevent people from hanging ropes, wires or chains in locations that could endanger others.

These codes exist for public safety and to ensure tree health. Most slackliners try to stay out of the way of crowded places like public beaches where crowds may gather or children would be attracted to the slackline. Not only do some people not see the line and run into it but slacklines require an extreme amount of tension to be put on the lines. If the rigging system fails, it can come at the user and bystanders like ballistics.

The amount of damage that can occur is extreme and known to be severe. Being hit by a slackline that has much tension on it can cause fatal injuries.There are more than a few videos on you tube that show bystanders injured by flying equipment. and sudden breakage of the nylon web.
The majority of slackline injuries come from an improperly set up or maintained slackline or people overestimating their ability.

The best way to keep them from breaking is maintenance and careful inspection for signs of damage. Look for evidence of fraying or cuts. If you find any damage, discard the line and replace it. Use the ratchet rig correctly. Examine equipment for rust or other damage. Dirt, sand and salt can cause accelerated damage to ratchets.

When a slackline snaps, it releases all the tension in the line turning it into a whip. The user or anyone standing too close to the line can be hit with this whip and become seriously injured. Longer slacklines require increasing amounts of tension to get them to the proper tension.

How to avoid injuries to bystanders:

– Do not set up slacklines on or near bicycle paths, running paths or in crowded spaces.
– Do not leave your slackline unattended.
– Try and set up some type of warning system around the line such as caution tape to warn people of the slackline.
– Be aware if a crowd or children start to gather around the slackline. You need to warn them of the possibility of injury.

The most common slackfline injuries that we have seen with slackline “athletes” include:

-Broken ribs, wrists, forearms and shoulders
-Getting punched, slapped, or whipped by the slackline (this happens when you quickly release tension on the line by moving your bodyweight around and the line whips in any direction)
-Groin injuries in males (this can happen to bystanders also as the line whips side to side about 4 feet off the ground)
-Skin injuries from whip type injuries or direct abrasions
-If you are walking, jumping or doing a bouncing trick, you may crash to the ground. If the line breaks you will fall. There is no evidence that a crash pad will prevent an injury.

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