In any sport, there is always a risk of injury. From major competitive team sports like football, baseball and basketball, to individual sports like bowling, golf and swimming, your body is at risk to the elements surrounding it when involved in physical activity. While violent and combative sports like football and hockey would prove to be the sports more inviting to serious injury, it is not to say that the seemingly harmless sports are not conducive to physical detriment as well.

However, it does stand to say that the sports that involve the most physical contact and person-to-person collisions are essentially the most dangerous to individual well-being. Without the proper equipment, management, training and supervision, every sport becomes open to the possibility of injury. Without proper training or supervision, the most severe injuries can even happen during individual sports or recreational activities. And without the proper management and coaching, the bulk of organized sports-related injuries will continue to take place during team practices.

Age and gender play important roles in sports-related injuries as well. Before puberty hits, girls are more likely to be injured during sports than boys. However, with injuries like sprains, strains and fractures, children always have a stronger and shorter healing period than adults. As people grow older, their physical recovery times change accordingly. Because of this, the sprains, tears and pulls become much more serious and can have a lingering effect on the body. More medical attention will be required and some injuries will require treatment for the rest of the victim’s life.

The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains. A sprain occurs when the ligament is stretched beyond its limit and a strain takes place when a tendon is stretched too far. Ligaments and tendons are like the body’s springs and if they are stretched too far they will become “broken.” Strains are also commonly referred to as pulled muscles because essentially when a tendon is stretched too far it pulls on the muscle, causing pain and discomfort.

While each sport is played differently, they all take the same toll on the body. Each part of the body is affected by physical contact, collisions and excessive exertion. Some of the most common injuries to the body are:

Head, neck and backConcussion, slipped disc, stress fracture, nerve damage, whiplash

Arms Dislocation, tennis elbow (not limited to tennis), sprained wrist, rotator cuff tear, fracture

Legs – Shin splints, sprained ankle, ACL/MCL/PCL sprain or tear, pulled groin, pulled hamstring, fracture

As with any injury, the severity depends on the cause and the impact. While fatalities are very uncommon in competitive and individual sports, they do exist. The leading cause of death for sports fatalities is an injury to the brain. Injuries in sports cannot be eliminated, but they can be prevented.


More than 3.5 million teenagers and children, ages 14 and under, are injured every year by playing competitive and individual sports, as well as by participating in simple athletic recreational activities.

Sports and recreational athletic activities are responsible for more than 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among teenagers, children and adolescents annually in the United States.

More than 60 percent of head injuries that occur during athletic competitions or recreational activities happen during bicycling, skateboarding, or skating related sports.

More than 800,000 teenagers and children, ages 14 and under, are admitted to emergency rooms each year because of injuries related to athletic competition and recreational activities. The majority of these injuries happen because of a striking object, collisions, falling, or physical overextertion.

Of non-fatal injuries that are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year, the majority are caused by athletic competition or recreational activities.

Between 2000 and 2001, more than four million sports-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms. This included all ages and both males and females, and represents nearly 16 percent of all non-fatal unintentional injuries. For children and teenagers ages 10-14, sports-related injuries were 46 percent of the reason they visited the emergency room. For people ages 15-19, sports-related injuries were 31 percent of the reason they took a trip to the hospital emergency room.

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