Excess Accident Insurance
All participants should be covered by an Excess Accident policy with a medical expense limit of at least $25,000. A high percentage of the public is still uninsured and many with insurance are subject to high deductibles and coinsurance under their own health policies. Excess Accident insurance helps to offset out of pocket medical bills, which acts as a disincentive for injured participants to file lawsuits in search of a deep pocket to pay the medical bill debts. Insurance carriers often base the Excess Accident premium on the number of participant days estimated throughout the year.
General Liability Insurance
General Liability policy responds to covered lawsuits where it is alleged that the negligence of the bubble soccer league, rental company, or event host has resulted in bodily injury to a participant or spectator. The policy pays the legal defense costs and will pay for settlements and judgments up to the policy limit. Facility owners may be named as additional insureds under this policy if they require this as a precondition of entry onto the premises. It is recommended that the Each Occurrence limit should be at least $1,000,000 and higher limit options are available. The policy should NOT have an exclusion for athletic participants. Underwriters generally require the existence of an Excess Accident policy as well as the use of mandatory participant waiver/release forms in order to reduce the chances of a lawsuit.
What is bubble soccer?
Bubble Soccer, also known as bubble ball or bumper ball, is a relatively new sport with rules and play similar to those of traditional soccer. In addition to the protective bubble suit, the main differences are that there are no goalies, no off-sides rule, and no official number of players per team on the field, although five is typical. Bubble soccer can be played indoors or outdoors.
Bubble soccer leagues and equipment rental companies are popping up all over the country. Equipment rental companies specialize in private parties, birthday parties, and corporate events at their location of at an off premises location. In addition, many traditional sports facility owners and operators are adding bubble soccer to their programming.
Is bubble soccer riskier than other sports?
There are risks of injury associated with every contact sport, including bubble soccer. Typical injuries include bruises, twisted ankles, scraped knees and elbows and muscle strains. However, enforcing game rules and equipment manufacturers guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injuries.
Bubble soccer is not a suitable activity for the following people:
- Anyone with a history of heart diseases or hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Adults and children under 5’ in height
- Children younger than 8 years and adults over age 55.
- Anyone weighing more than 200 lbs.
We strongly recommend all participants sign a custom-designed waiver/release. We provide a generic sample waiver/release in our online risk management library that can be customized to fit the needs of your organization.
Important playing guidelines
While specific rules of play vary within each team/league/organization, The National Association of Bubble Soccer highly recommends that the following rules be adhered to during practice and play:
- Players must remove all jewelry and empty all pockets of all objects (i.e. keys, phones, before playing as they can damage the bubble and, as a result, compromise player safety.
- No contact should be permitted when a player is on the ground. Players need to return to standing position and have regained full balance before contact can resume.
- Forceful contact with players not near the ball (and therefore not expecting contact) should not be permitted.
- One or more players launching from the ground onto another player should never be permitted.
- No one should be permitted on the playing field unless wearing a bubble suit. Spectators should be kept at a distance to avoid contact on the sidelines with a player in a bubble.
- Indoor field lines should be marked with cones or other visible markers with wide margins along bleachers and walls. Players crashing into such immovable obstacles are at increased risk of injury. A good rule of thumb is no contact when players are near the field markers.
NBSA equipment guidelines
- The bubble’s primary function is to reduce the risk of player injuries, and therefore must be inflated properly. A concave indention should result from light hand pressure on a sufficiently inflated bubble. An over-inflated bubble will have no give or elasticity under light pressure. A properly inflated bubble provides protection for the upper body, head, and neck during play.
- The player should have sufficient head clearance in the bubble and the bubble straps should not come loose or slip off during play. It is highly recommended that bubbles with hard plastic handles be avoided as they put players at risk for injuries if contact is made with their eyes, nose and mouth during play. Fabric or plastic-covered fabric handles are the best option.
- The bubble should always be inspected for defects prior to every use.
- Athletic shoes are the only type of footwear that should be worn during play.
- Players who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses should either remove them if possible as they can shatter. If prescription eyewear is necessary, players should wear protective goggles or prescription sports lenses
- Shin guards should not be permitted as they can damage the protective bubble.
Bubble Soccer Organizations
Please contact the following organization for more information on rules, equipment and venues.