Which sports cause the most injuries to high school athletes?

The headlines might have everyone convinced that football is responsible for the most injuries to high school athletes, but data suggests that’s not the case.

Photo: Kevin Hoffman
Photo: Kevin Hoffman

HealthGrove.com recently compiled statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission showing which sports are responsible for the most trips to the emergency room for athletes ages 13 to 17. Football cracks the top five, but it doesn’t lead the way. That honor goes to basketball.

The list provides some perspective, but it doesn’t take all factors into consideration. HealthGrove notes that the data doesn’t show the number of injuries per player, so sports with greater participation will naturally climb higher up the list. Discounting injuries that do not send athletes to the emergency room also creates room for scrutiny.

Here is the list, along with the average number of injuries each year between 2002-14.

20. Bowling: An average of 764 injuries each year.

19. Rugby: 1,214.

18. Field hockey: 1,825.

17. Tennis: 1,915.

16. Skiing: 4,752.

15. Ice skating: 4,999.

14. Horseback riding: 5,581.

13. Lacrosse: 5,830.

12. Track and field: 8,194.

11. Weight lifting: 8,921.

10. Snowboarding: 9,608.

9. Ice hockey: 12,336.

8. Volleyball: 14,304.

7. Softball: 18,119.

6. Wrestling/boxing/martial arts: 18,174.

5. Gymnastics/cheerleading/dance: 22,671.

4. Baseball: 27,208.

3. Soccer: 45,475.

2. Football: 118,886.

1. Basketball: 119,589.

The breakdown also includes the most common body part injured in each sport — for example, finger in football and ankle in basketball. Click here to read the complete report.

4 thoughts on “Which sports cause the most injuries to high school athletes?”

  1. This is interesting data. But I am curious about the ranking of sports and injuries based on proportional facts . It’s obvious that basketball and football will show most injuries because they are also most popular .

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