7 Best Human Bumperballs | April 2017
- comes in red and blue colors
- includes carrying bag
- tends to puncture easily
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- comes in various sizes
- great for team sports
- straps do not hold up over time
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
- sturdy shoulder straps
- 30-day replacement warranty
- may be too heavy for kids
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- more head clearance than others
- soft plastic handles
- designed for safe use
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
- include free patches
- inflate quickly
- spacious interiors
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
- includes protective storage bag
- comes with zipper oil
- free custom logo
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
- can be used on rugged terrain
- safe for use by kids
- buckles made of a metal alloy
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
The Ludicrous, Laughable, Beloved Human Bumper Ball
There are few ways to add more humor and levity to a situation than by breaking out the human bumper balls. As the name suggests, these odd devices are inflatable spheres designed such that a full grown adult can slide into the center of the ball, secure himself or herself within the inflated sphere, and then can run around bouncing against walls, obstacles, or other bumper ball-clad people with relative impunity. In the air-filled grasp of a bumper ball, falls are cushioned, rolling down hill is reliably injury-free, and there is almost no way your friends and family members won't be doubled over with laughter at the spectacle of your antics.
As you might expect, these oversized inflatable objects are on the pricier side when it comes to novelty items, but most are durable enough to last for years of use as they can be patched and repaired if leaks develop. And as these bumper balls will become favorite fixtures of family playtime, and can even be used as part of a party rental service's offerings, they are well worth the investment, provided you choose the best human bumper ball (or balls) for your needs. They are a great way to encourage older children (and adults alike, for that matter) usually reticent to exercise based on how amusing their use can prove.
Human bumper balls use an almost universally similar design wherein a cloth harness wraps around its users shoulders, and a pair of solid handles is placed before the user's chest. When strapped into and holding onto the ball, he or she should be able to run about with ease and absorb impacts without any blunt force affecting his or her body. If you find that you do not fit comfortable into a unit's harness -- and that the straps cannot be adjusted to accommodate you -- do not use the bumper ball.
Most bumper balls measure five feet in diameter and are large enough to accommodate most teenagers and adults. Some units measure four feet across and are suitable for smaller adults or younger teens. Generally, these items are not sized for children nor are they necessarily an appropriate toy for the younger, smaller child -- youngsters are generally accident-prone enough as it is without the addition of an activity that encourages collisions and falls, air cushioning notwithstanding.
Playing with these oversized inflatables is also not generally advisable for those of advanced age due to the increased likelihood of damaged bones or joints that comes with the years. So too should anyone with a heart, pulmonary, or other potentially serious medical condition settle for spectating when it comes to the human bumper ball. Fortunately, it is as much fun to watch these items used as it is to actually encase yourself in one.
It should be noted that most human bumper balls are made from PVC material (or polyvinyl chloride), which is durable and resists tears and punctures, but which can also irritates some skin types. There are no viable alternatives available, unfortunately, so those with a PVC allergy will have to consider another form of diversion.
Bubble Soccer: Bouncing Across the Nation
Almost any amusing activity will eventually find a large enough group of enthusiasts to warrant some organization; this has certainly proven true for the human bumper ball. The "sport" known as Bubble Soccer is overseen by the National Association of Bubble Soccer, or NABS for short.
As the name suggests, playing the game relies on the basic rules of soccer with the unique twist of athletes being encased in giant inflated spheres. There are obvious differences -- using one's head to hit the ball is rather impossible, for example -- but anyone who knows soccer will quickly learn the rules of its bubble-encased counterpart.
Playing a serious game of Bubble Soccer demands a good degree of athleticism, as the game is filled with running, shots and passes, and the added weight and effort that comes with the giant inflatable ball you are wearing. There are more collisions and spills in Bubble Soccer than in the traditional sport, but they tend to be much less serious in terms of injury. However this game can also be enjoyed at a leisurely pace among friends, with the goal being levity as opposed to victory.
NABS currently has leagues active in more than forty metropolitan areas across the United States, with many more under consideration for expansion -- if you're interested in the sport, chances are there are other like-minded human bumper ball fans near you.
Injury Risks Associated with Bumper Balls
Whether you are playing Bubble Soccer or merely horsing around with friends while wearing human bumper balls, you are actually rather safe as compared to the risks associated with common sports like football, basketball, and soccer. Provided that your sphere is properly secured to your body and you exercise good judgement while playing or competing, it's unlikely a serious injury will occur -- or at least it is unlikely that you will suffer an injury unique to the use of a bubble ball.
In fact, because your torso, arms, and head are entirely encased in the inflated sphere, they are quite safe from injury; the sport sees remarkably few concussive injuries in particular, a laudable facet, as brain injuries can have lifelong effects. One possible injury that can occur even within the inflated ball is a players face impacting against his or her hand; a mouthguard can protect the teeth against damage, or padded gloves can be worn, either approach will mitigate the danger.
Only a player's legs are fully exposed during use of a human bumper ball, and therefore these are the only body parts that require additional protective hardware for more reliable injury avoidance. A standard pair of shinguards such as one wears when playing soccer are a great idea for the Bubble Soccer player (or any bubble ball user, in truth). Cleats are a wise choice for use when running back and forth on turf or grass, but care must be taken not to damage your inflatable bumper ball or that of an associate.
The best footwear may be that with ankle support; the one major safety concern a bumper ball can create is that it prevents its wearer from catching his or her fall. If you begin to topple over while in one of these spheres, chances are good that you are going to fall all the way to the ground. Adding extra support to your ankles can help prevent a sprain or even a break.