Life carries inherent risks. Even if you never left your house, given enough time, you’d sustain some sort of injury, no matter how minor. The key is to minimize risk while still enjoying life and living an active lifestyle.
Participation in sports is a great way to build skills, get exercise, and stay healthy. Still, some sports are riskier than others. The list below details some of the amateur sports with the highest injury rates in the U.S., based on data from sports medicine physicians and insurance adjustors. All of these can still be enjoyed; just be sure to take appropriate precautions.
As America’s favorite full-contact sport, football has earned a dubious place among sports with the most injuries. Although concussions in football have gotten a lot of mention in the press lately, they are by no means the only type of injury suffered. Knee trauma, such as tears of the ligaments and meniscus, are not infrequent. Also, shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears are a common occurrence. As one might imagine, most of these injuries are sustained while tackling or being tackled by another player.
This entry on the list might be surprising to some. Cheerleading is certainly not a violent sport, but it does involve heights and acrobatic feats. Plus, it’s extremely popular, so there are many participants and more chances for injuries to occur. In addition to concussions, cheerleaders most frequently sustain damage to the knees, ankles, and feet.
Soccer matches can be intense, especially when emotions flare. Although certainly not as violent as hockey or boxing, soccer players sustain both intentional and accidental injuries. Not surprisingly, many of these are to the knee areas. Groin injuries are also seen with some frequency. Just like with football, soccer players should always wear the maximum amount of protective gear allowed.
Basketball is not designed to be a contact sport, but accidents happen. Basketball players frequently collide on the court, which can result in injuries to both parties. Furthermore, the high jumps and trick shots can lead to trauma. The most common types of damage suffered by basket players are injuries to the feet, ankles, and knees.
America’s pastime isn’t known for being a violent sport, with the exception of the occasional bench-clearing brawl among professional teams. Still, every year, thousands of amateur baseball players end up in sports medicine clinics with injuries from their chosen game. The vast majority of these injuries result from being hit by the ball. A baseball is a hard object, and, when pitched at over 90 mph, can be very unforgiving.
Since the object of boxing is to actually hurt your opponent, it should be no surprise that boxing carries a high injury rate. While acute concussions and post-concussive syndrome, or “punch drunk,” are always a problem, boxers also suffer hematomas, abdominal injuries, and facial fractures. If one is going to engage in this sport, be sure to always be checked by a physician before and after a fight and wear a mouthguard and other protective equipment.