According to a study by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Football is the professional sport with the most injuries. In the study, the researchers used injury data collected from the National Collegiate Athletic Association Injury Surveillance System.
They found that football had the highest rate of injuries, followed by men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. The study also found that the most common injuries in football were sprains and strains, followed by contusions and fractures.
Types of Sports Injuries
Before we dive into the specifics of each sport, it’s important to understand what we mean by a sports injury. Generally, a sports injury is any injury that occurs while participating in a sporting activity. These injuries can range from minor bruises and sprains to serious fractures and head injuries.
The most common types of sports injuries include:
- Sprains and strains
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Bruises and contusions
Sports injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, improper training techniques, and collisions with other players or equipment.
Which Sports Have the Highest Injury Rates?
Now that we understand what we mean by a sports injury, let’s take a look at the injury rates for some of the most popular professional sports.
Football is often considered one of the most dangerous sports due to its high collision nature. Injuries are common, with players at all levels experiencing a range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to severe concussions and broken bones. According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, there were 22 catastrophic injuries (injuries resulting in permanent disability or death) in high school football alone during the 2019 season.
Hockey is another sport known for its physicality and high injury rates. Players are at risk of a range of injuries, including concussions, fractures, and lacerations from skates and sticks. A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found that professional hockey players had an injury rate of 8.1 injuries per 1000 player-hours.
While basketball is generally considered a less dangerous sport than football or hockey, it still carries a risk of injury. Players are most commonly at risk of ankle and knee injuries, as well as finger sprains and fractures. One study found that the overall injury rate for high school basketball players was 11.6 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures.
Soccer is a sport that requires a lot of running and physical exertion, which can lead to a range of injuries. Players are at risk of sprains, strains, and fractures, as well as head injuries from collisions with other players or the ball. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, soccer has an injury rate of approximately 4.7 injuries per 1000 athlete-exposures.
Baseball is generally considered a low-risk sport, with players at most risk of minor injuries such as cuts and bruises. However, players are still at risk of more serious injuries such as concussions from collisions with other players or the ball. According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, baseball had an injury rate of 3.6 injuries per 1000 player-games.
Why Are Some Sports More Dangerous Than Others?
So why do some sports have higher injury rates than others? There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the risk of injury in a given sport, including:
- Contact: Sports that involve physical contact between players, such as football and hockey, naturally carry a higher risk of injury.
- Speed: Sports that involve high speeds, such as skiing or snowboarding, can lead to more serious injuries if a player falls or collides with another player or object.
- Equipment: Sports that require the use of protective equipment, such as helmets or pads, may still carry a risk of injury despite the protection offered. Proper training and conditioning to improve strength, flexibility, and technique. Using appropriate protective equipment, such as helmets and pads. Following the rules and regulations of the sport to minimize contact and other risky behaviors. Staying hydrated and taking breaks as needed to prevent overuse injuries
- Playing surface: The type of surface on which a sport is played can also affect the risk of injury. For example, playing on a hard surface such as concrete can increase the risk of injury compared to playing on a softer surface such as grass.
Preventing Sports Injuries
While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of injury in sports, there are steps athletes and coaches can take to reduce the risk of injury. These include:
Is it safe to play football or hockey?
While football and hockey are considered higher-risk sports, they can still be played safely with proper training, equipment, and adherence to rules and regulations.
What should I do if I get injured while playing a sport?
If you experience a serious or persistent injury while playing a sport, you should seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional.
Can playing sports lead to long-term health problems?
While most sports injuries are minor and heal over time, repeated exposure to physical activity and contact can increase the risk of long-term health problems such as joint pain and cognitive impairment.
Are some positions in football or hockey more prone to injury than others?
Yes, certain positions in football and hockey may carry a higher risk of injury due to the physical demands of the position.
Can children safely participate in high-risk sports such as football or hockey?
While children can safely participate in high-risk sports with proper training, equipment, and supervision, parents and coaches should carefully consider the potential risks and benefits before allowing children to participate.
In conclusion, football and hockey are generally considered the professional sports with the highest injury rates due to their physicality and high-contact nature. However, every sport carries some risk of injury, and athletes and coaches should take steps to reduce the risk of injury whenever possible.