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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.


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Guillermo

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 .

how do you get an injury bowling

Ravi Shankar

The report is misleading, because the number of injuries does not reflect the severity of the injuries. I’m pretty sure the Football injuries are more debilitating than minor ankle injuries sustained playing basketball.

Navi

I’d be curious to see the percentage itself not just the raw number. There are less bowlers and tennis players than there are football and basketball players so obviously there would be more injuries in those sports than others.

Ava

What about SWIMMING?!?! Do you know how many injuries swimming gives you?!

Jack

In skateboarding there are a various amount of injuries. Why isn’t it in the list?

Ellie

Swimming is absolutely a sport and I’m confused why it isn’t on this list of sports. A lot of high schools have a swim team.

William Walker

Can you tell me where shooting sports rank in this list? Skeet,Trap and Riflry

haisbai

you forgot cheer

jessica

how come you people don’t play cricket is it to dangerous????

Coach Louie Velez

This was a great article and really appreciated. That being said, having further breakdown would help with training, preventive maintenance, practices, and trainers etc. – just my personal observation.

rose

MARTIAL ARTS SHOULD BE #1 ON THE LIST
TOO MANY PEOPLE GET HURT BY THIS
WHY DID THEY EVEN MAKE THIS A SPORT IN THE FIRST PLACE

siriiphone

Well that’s a big problem

How do you get hurt in tennis

sam

netball?? rugby??

Christine

I feel like some of these are hard to compare, one tiny sprained ankle in basketball (not that that’s all that can happen, I know you can get severe injurys from all sports) can’t always compare to the broken collarbone or rotated pelvic bone that gymnasts undergo daily

Gregory Galminas

If more people play soccer than any sport in the world the truth has to be that more injuries occur playing soccer no matter what some report says. There is no way they could gather accurate info. So to come out with any report is just biased nonsense.