There’s nothing like a good game to get your blood pumping and your heart racing, whether you’re in the stands, in front of your TV, or right there in the field. However, after what we went through in the last year, it is more probable you’ll be mixing these to adapt to the current pandemic regulations.
Pushing your body to its limits comes with its fair share of consequences. In 2021 we are more likely to see these numbers go up more than ever before.
Professional athletes will push themselves too far after returning to courts and the field, disregarding the ways to prevent sports injuries. Beginners will push themselves too far while working out at home — the graph of sports injuries will be unlike any we previously saw.
Here we present you some sports injury statistics to shed a bit of light on how hazardous our athletic pursuits can be.
Top Ten Sports Injury Statistics for 2021
- Men’s football causes the largest number of severe injuries.
- Soccer causes the highest number of injuries in women’s sports.
- Men get injured more often than women.
- Around 21.9% of injuries require over seven days off.
- College athlete injuries statistics show that 63.8% of injuries happen during competitions, not practice.
- Female athletes have a higher rate of overuse injuries.
- Children and teenagers practicing sports suffer roughly 3.5 million injuries annually.
- Sports injury statistics show that the average cost of player injuries in top soccer leagues amounts to $12.4 million for each team.
- Roughly 12% of Olympic athletes were injured during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
- Men get injured more often than women, according to the CDC injury statistics.
General Sports Injury Facts and Stats
How often do sports injuries happen and how serious are they? Which sport puts you in the greatest danger? What’s being done to prevent it? These are just some questions we will try to answer in this section and give you a clear view of this matter.
1. College athlete injuries statistics show that 63.8% of injuries happen during competitions, not practice.
College life affects students in more than one way, and, let’s face it, sports are an irreplaceable part of the college experience. However, since there are more practice sessions than there are actual games, the rate of injury is higher during competitions.
Compared to it, practice sessions made up 82% of all “athlete exposures” (i.e. exposures to the sport).
2. Soccer causes the highest number of injuries in women’s sports.
(CDC – College sports)
Fitness injury statistics show that soccer has the highest estimated number of annual injuries, at 15,113. Its competition injury rate is also the highest for women’s sports, at 17.2 for every 1000 games.
The lowest injury rate in women’s sport is for swimming and diving, at 1.8 per 1000 games.
3. When it comes to death in sports, statistics show that water sports are as dangerous as traffic accidents.
According to the available date, this is mostly due to the high number of neck and head injuries, or penetrating traumas which require surgery.
Wakeboarding and waterskiing are especially risky, as they frequently result in concussions, sprain ankles, bone fractures and dislocated shoulders/knees arising from hitting the water surface at great speed.
Surfing injuries are not uncommon either, with leg injuries making a staggering 46% of them. Most of these injuries happen due to inadequate choice of equipment, especially when it comes to choosing the right surfboard.
4. Roughly 12% of Olympic athletes were injured during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
(British Journal of Sports Medicine)
This professional sports injuries statistics included 2914 athletes (58% were men, 42% women). Of this number, there were 376 injuries and 279 illnesses.
The highest injury incidence was in ski halfpipe (28%) and snowboard cross (26%). Of these 376 injuries, 33% required a day or more of absence from the sport, while 13% needed seven days off or more.
5. Around 21.9% of injuries require over seven days off.
Athletic injury statistics gathered by the CDC state that 21.9% of all college sports injuries require a break of at least seven days before the injured athlete can fully take part in the sport again.
Roughly 4% of all injuries required surgery (5.4% of injuries acquired on a competitive level, and 3.1% during practice).
Furthermore, 0.9% required immediate emergency transport (1.4% at competitions, 0.6% during practice).
6. A committee focused on improving athletic equipment continuously works towards improving helmets.
The severity of the prevalence of head injury in sports statistics has not gone unnoticed. Because of the many injuries and concussions in professional sports, the National Operating Committee on Standards in Athletic Equipment works on improving helmets.
Thicker shells, softer padding, air-filled compartments–all these should hopefully make the NFL safer.
7. Injury statistics by sport show that base jumping is the most dangerous sport in the world, with the highest death rate.
(Rules of Sport)
For comparison’s sake, the second most dangerous sport in the world is swimming. It has a death rate of 1.77 per 100,000 people – less than forty times the chance of dying during base jumping.
Numbers about the latest sports injuries and various deaths in sport statistics show just how intense base jumping can be. Out of every 100,000 people that partake in this sport, 43.17 will die.
8. Overuse injuries are under-reported.
(Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine)
Overuse injuries in youth sports statistics are difficult to present with certainty. Estimates range between 45.9% and 54%. One of the core reasons this is problematic is that injuries outside the school setting are not seen.
Most studies don’t include injuries that are unrelated to the time loss regarding the sport the athlete takes part in. Most overuse injuries do not cause time loss, anyway.
9. Sports injury statistics show that the average cost of player injuries in top soccer leagues amounts to $12.4 million for each team.
Player injuries are no joke. The cost of a high-level player getting hurt can cost a team millions of dollars. Every year, soccer teams lose somewhere between 10% and 30% of their player payrolls because of their player getting injured.
Sports Related Injuries Statistics — Men vs. Women
Our bodies are built differently, and our determination to do something varies. We push ourselves over the limits far too frequently, forgetting the importance of proper diet to fuel out bodies or resorting to steroid (ab)use.
Let’s look into some numbers about the most frequent injuries among men and women, how they happen and what the injury rates are.
10. Female athletes have a higher rate of overuse injuries.
(Journal of Athletic Training–Overuse Injuries)
A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training reports stats on sports injuries, showing that women have a higher rate of overuse injuries. However, men had a higher rate of acute injuries.
The highest rate of injuries within this study was seen in football, while women’s rowing had the lowest rate.
11. Men’s football causes the largest number of severe injuries.
(CDC College sports)
If you were wondering which sports have the most injuries, the answer is: wrestling has the highest injury rate.
However, football’s dangerous reputation is not undeserved — college athlete injuries statistics show that football accounts for the largest number of college sports injuries.
Football is also responsible for injuries that require surgery, emergency transport, and injuries that require a seven-day (or longer) break from the game.
12. Men get injured more often than women, according to the CDC injury statistics.
Men make up the majority of injured persons, mostly aged 5 to 24 years, Caucasian. Most injuries occur in the lower extremities, upper extremities, as well as head and neck.
13. Men’s and women’s sports vary in injury rates.
Sports-related injuries statistics do show certain similarities when it comes to men’s and women’s sports. For example, injury rates are similar for diving, tennis, swimming, and indoor and outdoor track and field.
Cross-country injury rates are significantly higher among women, while also being lower in basketball, ice hockey, and lacrosse.
Teenage and Children Sports Injury Statistics
Children frequently enter the world of sports at a very young age, and it makes sense because they are very energetic. However, they are also less cautious and thus prone to injuries. Here are some numbers about this matter.
14. Children and teenagers practicing sports suffer roughly 3.5 million injuries annually.
(Stanford Children’s Hospital)
There are 30 million children and teens that participate in some kind of organized sport in the US. However, sports injury statistics show that roughly 3.5 million injuries occur within this demographic every year. In fact, almost a third of injuries during childhood is related to sports in one way or another.
15. Trampolines cause 65,000 injuries a year.
(Stanford Children’s Hospital)
Trampolines are a lot of fun, but they can also be pretty dangerous. According to exercise injury statistics, every year, thousands of children under the age of 14 end up in emergency rooms because of trampoline injuries.
16. Youth sports injury statistics reveal that around 21% of all brain injuries suffered by American teens and children are caused by sports.
(Stanford Children’s Hospital)
No sports come without certain dangers, and head injuries in sports are not to be taken lightly. However, when talking about ways to prevent sports injuries, being cautions and wearing protective gear come a long way.
17. Roughly 775,000 children annually end up in emergency rooms because of sports-related injuries.
(Stanford Children’s Hospital)
The injury in sports statistics shows that roughly 775,000 children under the age of 14 end up in emergency rooms because of sports. These injuries are caused by falls, overexertion, collisions, and being struck by objects.
How to prevent sports injuries?
(American Academy of Pediatrics)
There are several things you can do to minimize the chance of injury, for example:
- Get enough rest–Sleep at least 8 hours per night, have one day off per week, and take breaks if you think you got a bad sprain or if you’re burnt out.
- Increase your flexibility–A lack of tightness and increased range of motion minimizes the odds of you getting injured.
- Use proper technique–Improper technique can lead to injuries, both “in the field” and during practice.
- Don’t play through pain–One of the more important sports injury facts that is often disregarded is not playing through pain. There is a difference between being sore, feeling tired, and having a torn or strained ligament or muscle.
- Hydrate well–Drink plenty of water, especially if it’s really hot outside.
- Wear the right gear–Certain sports require you to wear helmets, face guards, mouthpieces, protective cups, and other equipment for a reason.
What is CTE?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, is a degenerative brain disease. We can find it in athletes, veterans, and basically anyone who faced continual and repetitive brain trauma. A more professional CTE definition needs to mention the Tau protein, which creates clumps, spreads through the brain, and kills brain cells. It’s quite insidious since its symptoms take years to develop.
CTE symptoms include changes in impulse control, the onset of aggression, depression, and paranoia. Head injuries in sports statistics obtained from a study of 202 deceased American Football players show that 99% of former National Football League players had this issue.
Caused by repeated blows to the head (not necessarily concussions), over a period of years, athletes with long careers are at the highest risk of CTE.
Which sport has the highest injury rate?
(Journal of Athletic Training)
Certain sports stand out when it comes to injuries. While it is impossible to analyze all sports, especially certain niche athletic pursuits, a study in the Journal of Athletic Training has some interesting pointers.
Football had the highest injury rate, with 9.6 injuries per 1000 practice sessions, and 35.9 injuries per 1000 games.
What percentage of athletes get injured?
(At your Own Risk)
Roughly 90% of student-athletes have reported some kind of injury. However, even with this high number, it’s difficult to figure out exactly how many injuries there actually are on a collegiate and professional level due to the vast underreporting of injuries in this field.
What sport has the most head injuries?
(Complete Concussion Management)
There are many ways you can get a head injury when you’re doing sports. However, as far as concussions in sports are concerned, a recent survey showed that men’s rugby has the highest concussion rate, at 3 concussions per 1000 games played.
Men’s tackle football takes second place, with 2.5 per 1000 games, and in third place is women’s ice hockey, with 2.27 per 1000 games.
There are, of course, many excellent benefits to sports. It can improve your health, it can boost your confidence, and gives you a sense of achievement. There is a sense of camaraderie and companionship that we so desperately need in times like this.
Still, there are dangers you need to keep in mind if you don’t want to add some of the crazy sports injuries to your 2021 social distancing reasons list.
Our sports injury statistics are not here to scare you away from exercising. Rather, they are here to remind you how dangerous sports can be if you don’t take care of yourself (or if you’re simply out of luck).
- At Your Own Risk
- British Journal of Sports Medicine
- CDC – College sports
- CDC fact sheet
- Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine
- Complete Concussion Management
- Concussion Foundation
- Journal of Athletic Training
- Journal of Athletic Training – Overuse Injuries
- Rules of Sport
- Stanford Children’s Hospital
- Stop Sports Injuries