"I see more injuries in soccer than BSSC football," Marianes said. "I've seen people blow their ACLs out. People are way too intense. These guys are trying to make these plays they did 10 years ago, and they can't make them anymore. And it's usually girls getting the brunt ... of it."

In the past 14 years, Cray said, he has banned only four players for "unsportsmanlike conduct." Overzealous acts, such as a hard slide in softball, will result in the player's ejection from the game and a one-week suspension, he said.

Cray, who instructs coaches to remove "ultra-competitive" players, says the word "competitive" doesn't appear once on BSSC's website. The purpose of the league, he says, is to meet new people. He proudly mentions there have been more than 150 marriages resulting from BSSC.

"If you're mean to a girl on the field, she's not going to talk to you at the bar," Cray said.

Sometimes, the drinking starts early. While league commissioners say alcohol consumption is not permitted at the games (it is technically illegal at Baltimore City and Baltimore County parks to have alcohol without a permit, which none of the leagues has), the presence of beer and other drinks is fairly common, numerous players said.

Bobby Hamilton, a 31-year-old who lives in Fells Point, said he broke his wrist in a BSSC kickball game in April after colliding with two tipsy female players on the base path.

"Their initial reaction was to giggle," he said.

While outside factors all play a role in intramural injuries — from alcohol consumption before the game to less-than-ideal playing fields to just being at the wrong place at the wrong time — Dreese said that sometimes, there's no avoiding getting hurt.

"Injury rates are most tied to the rate of participation," Dreese said. "The majority of injuries are just going to happen."

Hamilton, who played sports throughout high school and college, acknowledged that his "overall fitness level and coordination aren't what they used to be," but he added that the mix of athletes and socializers is part of the problem, too.

"It's the weirdest mix out there," Hamilton said. "There's dudes in $300 worth of Under Armour going 120 percent, and girls doing it just for the social aspect. It's a recipe for trouble."

Broken bones and bruised egos aside, the risk of injury is not enough to dissuade young professionals in search of a good time with their peers. When Wilkinson broke her wrist, her father urged her to quit the kickball league.

"It was eight months before my wedding, and my dad was saying, 'What if it had happened right before it?' " she said. "But it's something a group of our friends get together and play every week. You can't do things in life wondering, 'What if?' "


Avoiding injury

Not all injuries are avoidable, but the risk of minor "overuse" ailments, such as hamstring pulls and ankle sprains can be lessened with a little preparation, according to doctors. Here are their tips:

Stretch more: Alexis Marianes said she feels "kind of silly" stretching before a social sports league game because it could appear she's taking a recreational activity too seriously. But stretching warms up your body, improving muscle elasticity in the process.

Wear proper equipment: In many cases, including football and kickball, field conditions worsen over the course of a day. Whether it's from rain or dew, things can get slippery out there, leading to possible injury. "I keep telling players to go to the clearance rack ... and get a pair of cheap soccer shoes. The plastic cleats will help," said BSSC President Mike Cray.

Stay active year round: This is a no-brainer, but its benefits can't be understated. "We get busy in our working lives, but four or five days per week of 30 minutes of cardio will keep you in better playing shape," said Jennifer Kramer of the National Center for Sports Safety.

Hold off on the alcohol: Alcohol consumption affects motor skills and balance, so playing while drunk, or even buzzed, can lead to an injury. "Have your fun, but be responsible about what you're doing," said Dr. Harrison Youmans of Union Memorial Hospital.

Don't make it worse: If you have a nagging injury, get it checked out before taking on more physical activity. "Don't play hurt," Youmans said. "Follow up with somebody."