Top Ten Most Dangerous Sports


Sports such as football and soccer may be fun, but they also pose a serious risk to a person’s health.

Emily Stocksdale, Staff Writer

Sports have become a major pastime in the United States and the world.  Huge tournaments, televised events, and millions of dollars are spent each year on sports, but, however enjoyable they may be, sports can also be relatively dangerous.  Despite the fact that better safety equipment and other precautions have been taken in recent years, many people are injured or killed as a result of the sports they play.

The following list details some of the most dangerous sports and activities that are common in the U.S.  These sports were ranked based on the average number of injuries and deaths associated with them over an average year.

10.     Trampolines: As trampolines have become more popular over the past few years, it has become apparent that they are not as innocuous as they may first seem.  Broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and even death are becoming increasingly common in people who use trampolines, and approximately 98,000 people are        injured each year while jumping on trampolines.

9.     Swimming: Swimming is not as physically demanding on the body as other sports, in the sense that a person is less likely to seriously injure himself while swimming; however, shoulder and knee injuries are fairly common.  Young children are more likely to hurt themselves while swimming, which explains why this sport ranks at nine on the list.

8.     Horseback Riding: An estimated total of 78,500 people were taken to the emergency room in 2009 due to horseback riding-related injuries, according to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance Survey (NEISS).  Various injuries can be sustained while riding (or falling off of) a horse, including sprained or broken bones,       bruises, concussions, or spinal damage.  As with most sports, the most serious injuries are often acquired through carelessness or neglect of the proper precautionary measures.

7.     Skiing: Over 100,000 people are injured each year while skiing.  This sport is less common, which may account for its relatively low position on the list.  Nevertheless, skiing may result in a wide array of injuries such as torn ligaments, dislocated shoulders, and even death in more drastic cases.

6.     Soccer: Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, and while it is not so common in the United States, it still counts for many of the country’s sports-related injuries.  Sprains, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, concussions, and other such wounds are fairly frequent.  Most injuries are minor and can be treated with     relative ease.

5.     Baseball and Softball: Baseball and softball account for approximately 29,000 injuries each year.  Of course, these sports can be more dangerous for the fans than for the players, given the tendency for carelessly flung bats and fly balls to hit members of the audience.  Nevertheless, baseball and softball players can get severely injured or killed while playing their respective games.

4.     Exercise Equipment: While using exercise equipment may not necessarily constitute a sport per say, at least not a sport that anyone would really want to play, it is still a relatively dangerous athletic activity.  People are injured while running on treadmills, lifting weights, and even using stepper machines.  Usually, these injuries are sustained through a reckless use of this equipment but not always.

3.     Football: It is not really a surprise that football is the third most dangerous sport.  Many states have considered banning the sport for anyone under a certain age, and considering how often children sustain serious concussions or broken bones while playing football, that fact makes sense.  It can be debated that football is the most dangerous sport in the United States, but in terms of both injuries and deaths, it falls more accurately in third place.

2.     Basketball: Injuries sustained while playing basketball are usually minor, but they are also very common, explaining how this sport came to rank second on the list.  Sprains, strained ankles, and mouth or eye injuries are frequent.  An estimated 500,000 people are hurt each year while playing basketball according to the National Safety council.

1.     Bicycle Riding: Riding a bike seems like it should be a safe and relaxing pastime, but, in reality, it can be one of the most dangerous.  Most of these injuries occur during BMX events or while riding on the street.  Obviously, when people put themselves in more risky situations, they are more likely to get hurt.  Such is the case with bicycle riding.  The CDC notes, “While only one percent of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do.”  Head injuries are most common.

Of course, this list does not necessarily agree with all sources and will vary from time to time.  Nonetheless, it is interesting to see how these sports stack in terms of possible danger to a person’s health.