Larp As a Full Contact Sport

When dealing with hard hitting, full contact larp, you start to question if perhaps the game we all play shouldn’t also be described as a sport. Many of the injuries that become somewhat commonplace on the field are, in fact, sports injuries.

290337_363770900367339_2014301208_oIf you’re planning a hard hitting game, you should be used to getting hit, right? Some games have a ‘sufficent force’ rule like Darkon’s system, which essentially says that you must put sufficent force behind each shot you throw or the player recieving it may choose not to honor that strike. While all games do their best to make sure that all of the weapons that make it onto the field are safe, there is an inherent danger in this game. Weapons can blow out mid swing, too much armor in questionable conditions can cause injuries, accidents which just happen. So first, if you’re looking at a full contact game like Darkon, Dagorhiir, or SCA, what kind of injuries will you see?

I’ve been playing for 7 years. During that time I’ve sprained my thumb, either wrist, and both ankles multiple times. I’ve seen broken fingers or toes, broken limbs, torn acls/pcls, and once a separated thigh muscle. Playing a full contact game can be amazing for the hard hitting combat you run into, but it also means that safety plays a larger role.

I tend to bring ace wraps, ice, and wrist braces when I go out to larp because I’m aware of how easily my wrists in particular can strain. Plenty of other players wear everything from wrist and ankle braces to knee braces to mouth guards to help protect against agitating old injuries or incurring new ones.

There is a degree of danger inherent to a full contact game. It happens when you have 100+ participants ranged from 16 years old to their 50s, all swinging foam padded sticks to ‘kill their enemies’. However, keeping a cool head and knowing how to deal with the various types of injuries can do you a ton of good.

sprained-ankleSerious injuries do not happen at every event, or even on a regular basis, but they do happen. Learn basic first aid, like how to tell if something is sprained, or what the symptoms of a concussion are. I’ve used both of these skills in particular more than once, and been glad I knew what to look for each time it came up.

Don’t lose your cool if something happens. Whether you are the guy who gets the nose-breaking face shot or the guy who throws the shot, you need to remain as calm as possible. Get yourself, or the injured party, off the field and away from combat if it’s not serious. If it is serious, do not move them until someone with actual medical training gives you the go-ahead. This is especially true of broken bones, suspected internal damage, or serious concussions.


A few final pointers:

  • Full contact LARP can be dangerous, so make sure you are aware of how to handle smaller issues like bumps, bruises, and sprains.

  • Keep a handy kit of first aid supplies (band aids, alcohol swabs, etc) in case you need them.

  • Invest in the equipment needed to keep you safe, like wrist, ankle, or knee braces and mouth guards.

  • Everybody gets hurt at some point; just remember to keep a cool head when dealing with the injury and the parties involved.

  • First Aid knowledge is your best friend. Knowing if something is sprained, dislocated, or broken can make sure that appropriate care is rendered when necessary.

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2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Johnnie Williams August 27, 2013 Subscriber

    Ive been to one full contact LARP, though to be honest is was just combat and zero LARPing. Sport was a more apt term than LARP. Interesting, but people got hurt. In one incidence on purpose.

    Not my thing. But if you dont mind getting possibly bloodied or worse. Then flail away!

    Oh, and I was one of only two combatants to last more than one round against the local weapons master on my first event. (That was by sheer chance and agility.)

  2. Nash August 28, 2013 Subscriber

    We have a command at our game called the stop. If there is an injury or dangerous situation, at any time a player can yell “STOP!” and the entire game stops. Then, the first aid people move in and help. Once the situation is under control, the GM calls people back to their places, then counts down from three and the game resumes. I’ve seen pretty bad injuries, things like dislocated shoulders, heat exhaustion, and cracked ribs and everyone always obeys the stop, once they know it’s been called. I think it’s a pretty good method, even if it does mean breaking character for a bit.

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