In what appears to be the first case of its kind, an 18-year-old boy was admitted to a hospital in north London after suffering severe liver damage during a paintball game.
The case, which has prompted doctors to post warnings about paintball pellet-related injuries, was first thought to be appendicitis because of the symptoms.
However, when doctors inspected the teenager's abdomen with a camera, they found that the boy was extensively bleeding from his liver.
Turns out, the teenager had played paintball a few days earlier and had been hit by paintball pellets more than once on his abdomen. He described being hit on his right side but no bruise appeared.
Although the boy's case was treatable, he needed to undergo surgery to stop the extensive bleeding.
Joshua Luck, Gareth Bashir, and Daniel Bell - who are authors of the boy's case report - say the case represents the first paintball-related traumatic liver damage.
"Organ injuries of this nature have only been documented three times previously," the trio says.
With that, the authors of the report advise physicians and patients to become fully aware of the possible dangers linked with paintballing.
The boy's case is detailed in the journal BMJ Case Reports.
Can The Risks That Come With Playing Paintball Be Avoided?
Paintballing is a popular form of recreation, but its pellets that travel at velocities of up to 300 feet per second are recognized as cause of injuries such as blindness.
However, the dangers of paintball can be avoided. Palo Alto Medical Foundation has listed several tips that could help players ensure safety while engaging in the game.
1. Do not take off your face mask while inside the arena, as you could be hit in the face as you expose it.
2. When your paintball gun is not in use, put on your barrel plugs. This could help you avoid accidentally shooting someone. During the game, keep your plug in a tight pocket.
3. When not playing, aim your paintball gun downward. Again, this reduces the chance of shooting someone accidentally.
4. Do not look in your paintball gun's barrel. Being hit in the eye could blind you.
5. Check your neck and chest protection gear. Wear layered clothing that you don't mind getting dirty. Layering limits your movements, but it could soften the impacts of hits and prevent bruises. Make sure your gear is not damaged.
6. Drink lots of water and stretch before the game. Remember to have fun, but never forget to apply common sense and caution.
Photo: Justin Capolongo | Flickr