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Health and Fitness News

High-Risk Sports

Are playing these sports worth the risk?

You watch football on television and cringe at the tackles, falls, and head blows. While it’s good that there are helmets, padding, and stricter rules of the game, are these enough to protect players from injury? From football injury statistics, obviously not.

Today, more kids play organized sports these days than at any other time in history. Are your kids at risk for injury from the sports in which they participate? Is the risk for potential injury worth having your child on the team?

You’d guess right if you thought football ranks high on the list of risky sports. In fact, more concussions happen while playing football than any other sport. However, there are plenty other sports that make the danger list. Here are a few.

Horseback Riding

You’re sitting high up off the ground on an unpredictable animal. Sometimes animals often do the unexpected, and no amount of training can protect you from a horse’s strength. Each year, many people are injured or even killed from horseback riding accidents. Getting thrown off the horse, being trampled underfoot, or being kicked by a hoof are all potential risks of riding horses. Extreme caution must be used when around these gorgeous but dangerous animals.


You may wonder how standing on the sidelines while cheering and clapping can be risky. Many people are surprised to learn that cheerleading may be one of the most dangerous sports among high school and college-age kids. The risk comes in a variety of forms. The first is that cheerleaders are at constant risk of being rammed into by a football or basketball player. But the greatest risk comes from the stunts they perform. Being tossed or lifted high into the air by young, inexperienced teammates puts flyers at risk for falls that could result in serious injury.


A popular sport that comes with great risk for injury is soccer. Sprains and strains are the most common type of injury, but fractures and blows to the body are also possible. Players are most at risk for injuries to the legs, but head and neck injuries put soccer near the top of the list for riskiest sports.


Even though it’s not a contact sport, nor as popular a sport as some team sports, gymnastics comes with a high risk for injury. Testing your skill, strength, balance, and agility, gymnastics injuries occur from falls from uneven bars, the vault, the beam, and during floor routines. A high percentage of gymnasts are injured by fractures, sprains, strains, and general wear and tear on body, injuries that cause sporadic or constant pain throughout life.


You may be surprised to learn that basketball injury rates are nearly as high as football statistics. While more concussions happen while playing football, basketball puts you at great risk for ankle, knee, hip, and facial injuries. Like football, large people often play basketball. As a result, injuries easily occur when players collide.


Rugby may not attract players as big as those who play football, but it comes with similar injury risk. As players collide and tackle each other, protected only by a mouth guard and boots, it’s not surprising that players get injured. Concussions, dislocated shoulders, torn ligaments, sprains, strains, and fractures are all common.


Each year, more people are treated for head injuries from cycling than from football. Getting hit by a car, not wearing a helmet, or suffering collisions with other cyclists are the major causes of cycling injuries. Mountain biking and street cycling both pose risks for injury of riders, so regardless of where you ride, be careful!