It's easy to see why I believe it is wise to wear the protective glasses on the tennis court, but adhering to the standards are important to note. The American Society for Testing and Materials is a sports governing body, which has established and certified requirements for protective eyewear. For tennis and other racquet sports, the glasses must meet standard ASTM F803.
There are three options for tennis eye protection: polycarbonate lenses in a sports frame that passes ASTM F803, contact lenses plus an appropriate protector that passes ASTM F803, or over-the-glasses eye guard that conforms to the specifications of ASTM F803.
Your observation is 20/20, Steven. You won't see the majority of tennis players sporting the latest in safety glasses. Eye protection was not part of the original equipment for tennis, so people are reluctant to wear it now.
Williams says, "Tennis seems to be the only sport that doesn't have an agenda with eye protection. People who do get injured are educated the old-fashioned way and have no problem converting to eye protection.
"For some reason it is not fashionable to wear what is perceived as clunky and unsightly - no pun intended - eyewear. Players have to weigh the risks and decide if protective eyewear is the sensible action for them to take. I think people would be surprised with the eyewear options available to them."
While there are many styles to choose from that meet this standard, more often than not, those who are wearing some type of goggle on the court now do so because they've already sustained an injury or a close call they won't soon forget.
Williams adds, "The tennis player's attitude toward safety glasses can be compared to the old attitude that once surrounded bike riding and wearing a helmet."
Years ago, no one wore helmets; now most everyone sees the protection as an essential part of their gear. Likewise, I feel in time, protective eyewear will find its place in every smart tennis player's bag.
Cindy Boggs, fitness presenter, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311 or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her Web site www.cindysays.com or contact the YMCA at 304-340-3527.