The National Safety Council, the Insurance Groups and Consumer Safety companies consistently rank archery in the top safest sports – regardless of how one arranges the data. Typically, archery’s Emergency Room injury rates from year to year hover around 0.023 and 0.014 injuries per 1,000 participants.
With respect to the lowest “number-of-injuries”, archery shares the group with badminton, bowling and ping-pong. The next injury rate group is 2x to 5x higher in injuries and severities – includes fishing, tennis, skating and golf. Most of our existing public venues provide space for activities with much higher injury rates than archery – horseback riding is 8x higher, baseball is 23x higher, bicycling is 28x higher, basketball is 42x higher and so on.
The impressive fact is, recreational archery maintains consistent high safety records – despite that the participants range from the youngest grade school children to senior citizens, many of whom have never picked up a bow and arrow before.
Our local injury rates for archery have been much lower than the national data. Example: The archery shooting lanes at the Tolay Fall Festival had zero archery injuries – the arithmetic is: 900 to 1200 participants per day x 9days per festival x 5 years = over 47,000 people and no archery injuries. The participants are kids, parents and seniors. No doubt, archery is safe – for all ages and all abilities.
Safety is inherent to archery. The sport of archery does not require the motions and objectives where injuries wait – like running, swimming, climbing, riding, throwing things at people, overpowering the opposition, hitting people, standing in the direct line of fire, extreme musculo-skeletal flexions, adrenaline for attack and hyper-psychological states – these are not archery. The built in safety comes from a grounded quiet stance in preparation to shoot (like the slow hunting stance & taking careful aim). Arrows are loaded one at a time while keeping your eye on the target. The compelling affirmation is “make the shot, make the shot”. In archery, we have time to check our surroundings, time to point where we want to shoot and time to decide to let the arrow go or not.
Every archery group and shooting range has safety rules and guidelines for the archer, the spectator and the range environment. The rules are not complicated and are mostly common sense – always review your own rules and the venue rules before shooting anywhere. The basics are the same for everyone everywhere. When we get into competition, bowhunting and such, we’ll add a few specific items – otherwise, below are links to the common archery safety detail. Enjoy.