1. All players must wear a protective mask at all times when on the field.
2. All players must use a barrel blocking device when not in the playing area.
There is, however, a third rule that should be added to the list.
3. All players are responsible for pointing their marker in a safe direction at all times.
While playing at my local field’s walk-on day I had moved ahead of the rest of my team and waited for them to catch up. I felt a sting on the side of my face and could taste paint. At first I thought, "How could I have missed someone?" I thought an opposing player had eliminated me from a concealed position.I turned toward the direction of the shot to see a young player, from my team, with a rental marker, less than 10 feet away, waving to me followed by, "Sorry man, it just went off."
While walking off the field, barrel bag on and marker raised, nobody knew I was hit. It wasn’t until I got to the staging area and took off my mask that I could tell by the reactions of my friends it was a unique hit. The entire ball went under my mask and broke on the inside.
The young player felt bad and apologized to me after the game and it didn't hurt as bad as the photo makes it look. But the incident could have been avoided if the player had his marker pointed in a safe direction.
Whether you are on the field, on the chrono range, or even in the staging area with a barrel cover on, you must be responsible for the direction your marker is pointing at all times.
In my case, a wipe with paper towel, the application of a band aid and I was in the next game.
Paintball is statistically one of the safest sports in the world. It is up to each of us, as players, to keep it that way. One way to do that, and how not to shoot your teammates, is to know where your marker is pointing at all times.