If tennis and racquetball married, their first-born would be pickleball.

Pickleball play has grown so much recently, that the hardest part of the game now is finding an empty court, and it’s not just for grandparents.

Pickleball increased 158 % in the US, according to what’s called, ‘picklehead statistics.’ But for those 40 million players, the odds of being injured also skyrocket.

We visited the Annapolis Pickleball Club and talk with one player who’s spent months healing from a severe knee injury.

“It’s a short paddle. It’s not a string game, and it’s with a plastic ball as opposed to a core rubber ball,” said Bob Friend, an injured pickleball player.

Pickleball is social and appealing part of the game. Lots of laughter, but competitive spirits lead to getting hurt.

“I’ve had two injuries playing pickleball. The last one that I had, which was my patella tendon tear in my left knee, was playing in a tournament,” Friend said.

Anyone can play pickleball, but 90 percent of injuries occur in those over 50.

“One of the common misconceptions about pickleball, is that it’s less injury provoking than other sports. In most of the injuries that we see occur in the lower extremity, so in the knees and the ankles. They’re usually from a sudden lunging, jumping, twisting type of maneuver,” said John-Paul Rue, MD, Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeon at Mercy Medical Center.

Bob’s patella injury to his knee was intense.

“He did, sort of, a sudden lunge, and what happened was, his quadriceps, his thigh muscles, contracted suddenly and actually ripped the tendon from off of the bone, just below the kneecap,” said Dr. Rue. “The first four to six weeks, you’re pretty immobile. Then, you start to gain confidence, and the brace starts to come off, because you sleep with a brace for the first five weeks.”

So, how can you keep pickleball fun but safe from strains, sprains, and dislocations? Doctor rue says, warm up, know your limitations and stretch before and after playing.