7 Sports Most Likely to Cause Injuries

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Sandra Gordon on November 17, 2020
  • woman-holding-baseball-bats
    Keep Your Family Safe When Playing Sports
    Being physically active is good for you, but it comes with the risk of getting hurt. Nearly 2 million people suffer from sports-related injuries every year and end up in the emergency room. Among them are 1.35 million children and teens. Sports-related injuries range from bruises and sprains to more serious conditions like broken bones and concussions. You might be surprised by the numbers. Get the facts on the sports most likely to cause injury and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • Group of basketball players in action
    1. Basketball causes the most injuries.
    Basketball is a popular sport—more than 26 million youngsters ages 12 to 17 play it—but it causes the most injuries for players of all ages. Roughly 570,000 players were treated for injuries in the United States in 2012, and 8,000 of them were hospitalized. Play it safe: Wear eye protection, elbow and knee pads, a mouth guard, and an athletic supporter (boys and men). Strength training can also help you avoid injury.
  • Making the handoff
    2. Football injuries are common in teens.
    In 2012, more than 466,000 Americans were treated for injuries related to football, 10,000 of whom were hospitalized. This contact sport causes the most injuries of all sports for children and teens ages 12 to 17. Play it safe: Wear all pads and other safety equipment and warm up properly before playing. Remind your child of proper tackling techniques and to limit head contact.
  • kicking soccer outdoors
    3. Soccer contact and collisions are common.
    More than 231,000 people show up in U.S. emergency departments because of soccer injuries each year. Collision or contact sports, such as soccer, football, basketball and baseball, account for about 80% of all sports-related emergency department visits for children ages 5 to 14. Play it safe: For sports in which “heading” is involved, make sure the coach is teaching the kids how to properly use their head to strike or make a play with a ball.
  • Youth ice hockey team at practice
    4. Ice hockey causes the most concussions.
    Ice hockey isn’t as popular as basketball, football and soccer. Nonetheless, of the roughly 3 million teen ice hockey players in the United States, nearly 10,000 are injured every year. Thirty-one percent of those injuries are concussions, which is more than any other team sport. Play it safe: Limit head contact during play. Don’t tough it out. As with any sport, encourage your child to tell someone if he or she thinks an injury has occurred.
  • Cheer
    5. Cheerleading is a contact sport, too.
    Cheerleading is a competitive contact sport that includes gymnastic moves, throwing teammates in the air, and forming human pyramids. Among the 12- to 17-year-old set, cheerleading caused nearly 29,000 injuries in 2011, 12% of which were concussions. Play it safe: Make sure your child’s cheerleading coach is trained in gymnastics and partner stunting as well as spotting and other safety skills.
  • Youth League Batter
    6. Baseball and softball have risks.
    Baseball and softball are risky sports your child plays or you join in recreationally. More than 265,000 people were treated for baseball and softball injuries in U.S. emergency departments in 2012. Of those, 4,500 were hospitalized. Play it safe: Wear all safety equipment, such as a batting helmet and shin and elbow guards, and use detachable bases. Warm up before playing, too. Stretch your muscles and get your heart rate up before you play ball.
  • Varsity Volleyball
    7. Jumping in volleyball can lead to problems.
    Of the roughly 10 million volleyball players in the United States who are ages 12 to 17, more than 31,000 of them were injured in the game in 2011. Play it safe: When jumping, land with your knees bent. Knee and elbow guards are also a must to protect those vulnerable joints.
7 Sports Most Likely to Cause Injuries

About The Author

  1. Common Sports Injuries: Incidence and Average Charges. Department of Health and Human Services. http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/SportsInjuries/ib_SportsInjuries.pdf
  2. Game Changers. Stats, Stories and What Communities Are Doing to Protect Young Athletes. Safe Kids Worldwide. www.safekids.org/research-report/game-changers-stats-stories-and-what-communities-are-doing-protect-...
  3. Handout on Health: Sports Injuries. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sports_Injuries/default.asp
  4. Mueller FO; Cheerleading Injuries and Safety. Journal of Athletic Training. 2009;44(6):565-566. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2775356/
  5. Preventing Musculoskeletal Sports Injuries in Youth: A Guide for Parents. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sports_Injuries/child_sports_injuries.asp
  6. Sports and Recreation-Related Injuries. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/toolstemplates/entertainmented/tips/sportsinjuries.html
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Last Review Date: 2020 Nov 17
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.