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V. A. Creates Division For Paintball Veterans
by Mark on 11/2/2004 (0)

(sung to the tune of "The Green Berets")

Lime-green paint upon their face. These are men, there's no disgrace. 100 men will fight today, but only 2, will go to school next day.
ARLINGTON, VA - Faced with a growing number of maimed and mutilated paintball warriors, the V.A. was forced to open a special division for disabled splatter ball soldiers

The air was smoky and tense. You could almost hear the ceiling fan whooshing through the rooms stagnant air

"Hit me. I feel lucky today."

Former special ops Captain Tugg McTigh grunted, adjusting his black eye patch to the dim, dank hospital ward light

"But got 19...a-are you sure?..."

McTigh hammered his prosthetic hook down on the rickity table with a rattling clang

"I said HIT me, goddamn it! When I give an order, I expect it obeyed!"

The dealer, Corporal Jimmy Panzero, nervously flipped a card off of the top of the deck with the stump of his right forearm.

Sound like a roughneck collection of Vietnam and Gulf War vets enjoying a seedy night at the local V.A. with the boys?

Think again. These 'men' are only 15 years old.

Tugg McTigh and Jimmy Panzero are only two of thousands of the nations latest military casualties, not warriors formally, but warriors nonetheless, the soldiers of the Paintball Brigade.

Dr. C. Everett Koop explains

"The incidence of paintball injuries treated in emergency rooms has risen from an estimated 545 in 1998 to approximately 1,200 in 2000, according to a recent report in the journal Pediatrics. Many of these injuries result when people – mainly young people – play paintball without protective gear in an unsupervised setting."

Koop flipped a flourescent orange paintball like a Valencia orange.

"The size, a diameter of 17 millimeters and weight of 3.5 grams, and speed of the paintball make it a particularly dangerous projectile. We are seeing more and more youngsters injured and maimed by these weapons, and little seems to being done about it. It is very distressing."

Indeed, researchers say a new approach is needed to protect kids. They add pediatricians need to be aware of the popularity and the danger of paintball activities and should lobby for restrictions of the sale of paintballs and paintball guns to minors or restrictions of sales to organized facilities. Furthermore, study authors say until restrictions are in place, parents need to supervise these activities and require their children to wear protectitive gear.

Until then, the numbers at the paintball V.A. will continue to grow.

Back at the Arlington V.A., Tugg McTigh flipped his card

"Ha! Big deuce! Blackjack!! Take that one to the U.S. Consumer Products Commission, you dirty bastards!"

A bill calling for awarding Purple Hearts to paintball vets was sent to Congress, but no verdict is expected until next year.

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