How to stay safe during Oozeball tournament

With the fall tradition of Oozeball approaching, there are a few things players should keep in mind to stay safe during the game. 

Oozeball is a campuswide mud volleyball tournament that occurs annually in September, according to the Oozeball web page. Teams of six battle it out on the muddy volleyball courts at the corner of Summit Avenue and Greek Row to determine the Oozeball champion. 

This year’s Oozeball will take place at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23.

Drew Barfield, member services and technology assistant director, said most Oozeball injuries tend to be from heat exhaustion rather than any physical injury, so sunscreen and water are necessary. First aid kits and medically trained staff are on-site during the games. 

“When you’re knee-deep, you can’t move, so there’s not really going to be any high-speed collisions amongst teammates or anything like that,” he said. “When you go one direction and your leg stays in place, it’s always a risk for an ACL injury or some ligament tear, but knock on wood, we haven’t seen any of those.” 

Josh Hale, sports program assistant director, said teams are each given a roll of duct tape to secure players’ shoes to their feet, or they would lose their shoes in the mud pits. 

“Instead of continually stopping the game to have people put shoes back on their feet, we actually make them [tape their shoes],” Barfield said. “The referees will tell them, ‘You have to go tape your shoes onto your feet before you’re allowed to play,’ because once we start the play, we can’t really stop.” 

Biology senior David Nguyen said he has played in the Oozeball tournaments twice – once as a freshman on the Student Government team and once as a junior with the UTA Ambassadors.

“I feel like it’s pretty safe as long as everything’s tied up and you don’t get mud seeping in through your shoes. They’re pretty lenient about it as long as it’s well anchored,” Nguyen said. 

Hale said if a player thinks they’re injured or don’t feel right, they should call for a substitution. 

“We don’t want them to play hurt [or] get hurt. We don’t want that,” he said. “That’s one of those ‘Hey, make it fun. Make it enjoyable. Don’t go out here and hurt yourself.’” 

Nguyen said the mud makes Oozeball more challenging than regular volleyball. 

“Usually, I can just jump and block the ball and then get it to my teammates, but it’s way harder to do that because once you go down, you just stay down. You have to find better ways to do that,” he said. “It’s just different.” 


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