Following on from my previous post about Longbow Archery 🙂 The next injuries are by no means specific to longbow archery.
String Whip – it’s not life threatening but it does bloody hurt. If you’ve done archery a couple of times, then you’ve done this. What happens is the arm holding the bow, bends in just a little and it’s enough for the string to whip against the inside of your arm when you release the arrow. The injury can stretch from elbow to wrist and anywhere in between. It’s unlikely to draw blood and it will probably stop hurting within an hour or so. However, you are going to develop a beautiful, multi-coloured bruise. Usually in the shape of an extended ellipses.
I’ve been told that due to slight physiological differences that women are more prone to this than men, because their arms bend more naturally at a slightly different angle. There seems to be evidence that can go either way on this. Anyone is capable of getting whipped by the string. However, women also have adjust their stance a little to account for their chest which can lead to a tendency to curve the bow arm.
The easiest way to avoid string whip is to wear a van brace. Usually shortened to just a brace, this is the leather guard that is strapped to my wrist. If you go to any archery club, they will make you wear a brace to stop this injury.
Arrow Damage – when shooting arrows, one of the most dangerous things (other than the other people doing it beside you) can be going to collect the arrows that you’ve flung at the target. One of the main lessons in archery is –never- run towards the target to collect your arrows. If you trip over an arrow, or near the target, there’s a good chance you’re going to fall on an arrow and the nock end (the bit that holds onto the string) can be sharp and pointy. No one wants the wrong end of an arrow in their eye.
Muscle Strain – As with any sport, archers are going to develop certain muscle groups and they’re capable of over extending. Muscles that are going to hurt are the torso, back, neck, shoulders and arms. When drawing a longbow to shoot curved arrows where they go long distance, there’s even more strain from the draw that goes from shoulder down to your feet. That’s because of the large circular motion you’re doing in order to put as much muscle into the draw as possible. You’re not drawing a longbow with just your arms, I would argue that more than with recurve or short bows, the longbow requires the most full-body momentum that you can give it. Inevitably the battle commander will make you draw and hold that draw from a minute or so. If you’ve drawn properly, this should be possible without too much discomfort because the weight and the strength has not come from your arms.
I know there must be a dozen injuries that I’ve missed off, please anyone jump in if you spot something or just have an questions. I’ll try and get a post up in a few days about longbow equipment, body position and shooting.