Sports Injuries

Sports Injuries

SCHOOL SPORTS

Young people aged five to 14 accounted for 52 percent of the football injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2012, according to data from the National Safety Council. This age group accounted for 71 percent of gymnastics injuries, 53 percent of roller skating and 41 percent of track and field injuries treated in emergency rooms the same year. (see chart below).

WINTER SPORTS

In 2012 over 65,000 individuals were injured while participating in the winter sports of snowmobiling, snowboarding and ice skating and required treatment in emergency rooms, according to the National Safety Council. According to a National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Fact Sheet, during the 10 years ending in 2012, about 41.5 people died skiing or snowboarding per year on average. During the 2011-2012 season, 54 fatalities occurred out of the 51.0 million skier/snowboarder days reported for the season. Thirty-nine of the fatalities were skiers, and 12 of the fatalities were snowboarders. The charts below provide further information on sports and recreational injuries.

BICYCLE CRASHES

In 2012, 726 bicyclists and other cyclists were killed and an additional 49,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, according to a National Highway Traffic Association report. Bicyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year. During 2012, 9 percent of the cyclists killed in traffic crashes were 5 to 15 years old. Biking is the most dangerous sport, based on estimates of injuries treated in hospital emergency departments compiled by the National Safety Council. In 2012, 547,499 people were treated for injuries sustained while riding bicycles. According to a survey by the National Sporting Goods Association, 36 million people rode bicycles in 2013. Bicycles are increasingly being used for more than recreation. The share of Americans commuting by bike grew by 62 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the League of American Bicyclists. In total there were 864,883 bike commuters in 2012. Bicycle theft is also on the rise. The FBI reports that 194,549 bicycles were stolen in 2012, up 3 percent from 2011. The average value of a stolen bicycle was $384 in 2012. See report on Bicyclists and other Cyclists from NHTSA for more information.

Deaths of bicyclists in collisions with motor vehicles have decreased substantially in the United States in recent decades. However, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety report, between 2010 and 2012 U.S. bicyclist deaths increased by 16 percent to 722 in 2012 from 621 in 2010. Other motor vehicle fatalities increased by 1 percent during this same time period.

The report notes that fatal bicyclist crash patterns have changed significantly. The percentage involving adults age 20 and older increased from 21 percent in 1975 to 84 percent in 2012. In contrast, the percentage of fatally injured bicyclists younger than 20 decreased from 79 percent of the total in 1975 to 16 percent in 2012. The percentage involving males increased from 82 percent to 88 percent during this period. Adult males comprised 74 percent of all bicyclist deaths in 2012, followed by males younger than 20 (14 percent), females age 21 and older (10 percent) and females younger than 20 (2 percent).

The report also includes bicyclist fatalities by area and notes that such fatalities are now more likely to occur in urban areas, with the proportion increasing from 50 percent in 1975 to 69 percent in 2012. In 2012 the greatest numbers of bicyclist deaths occurred in high-population states with many urban centers. California had the most deaths (123), followed by Florida (120), Texas (56), New York (45), Illinois (29) and North Carolina (27). These six states accounted for more than half (55 percent) of all bicyclist fatalities in 2012. Fatalities by state for 2010 to 2012 are shown in the chart below:

 

BICYCLE DEATHS BY STATE, 2010-2012

State 2010 2011 2012 2010-2012 Change
Alabama 6 5 9 +3
Alaska 0 2 1 +1
Arizona 19 22 18 -1
Arkansas 2 6 6 +4
California 100 115 123 +23
Colorado 8 8 13 +5
Connecticut 7 8 4 -3
Delaware 2 0 4 +2
D.C. 2 1 0 -2
Florida 83 126 120 +37
Georgia 18 14 17 -1
Hawaii 3 2 2 -1
Idaho 4 0 2 -2
Illinois 24 27 29 +5
Indiana 13 11 15 +2
Iowa 8 5 3 -5
Kansas 1 2 7 +6
Kentucky 7 2 6 -1
Louisiana 11 18 23 +12
Maine 1 0 1 0
Maryland 8 5 5 -3
Massachusetts 7 5 15 +8
Michigan 29 24 19 -10
Minnesota 9 5 7 -2
Mississippi 4 7 4 0
Missouri 7 1 6 -1
Montana 0 1 1 +1
Nebraska 2 2 0 -2
Nevada 6 4 3 -3
New Hampshire 0 4 0 0
New Jersey 13 17 14 +1
New Mexico 8 4 7 -1
New York 36 57 45 +9
North Carolina 23 25 27 +4
North Dakota 1 1 0 -1
Ohio 11 16 18 +7
Oklahoma 9 1 5 -4
Oregon 7 15 10 +3
Pennsylvania 21 11 16 -5
Rhode Island 2 0 2 0
South Carolina 14 15 13 -1
South Dakota 2 1 0 -2
Tennessee 4 5 8 +4
Texas 42 45 56 +14
Utah 7 5 3 -4
Vermont 1 0 0 -1
Virginia 12 6 11 -1
Washington 6 11 12 +6
West Virginia 2 0 1 -1
Wisconsin 9 12 11 +2
Wyoming 0 1 0 0
Total 621 680 722 +101

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association.

 

The report also found that lack of helmet use and alcohol impairment  continue to be major contributing factors in bicyclist deaths. In 2012 data from the National Highway Traffic Association indicate that 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets, 65 percent were not and helmet use was unknown for the remaining 18 percent. A large number of fatally injured bicyclists had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, the legal definition of alcohol-impaired driving, including 28 percent of those aged 16 and older. The percentage of bicyclists with high BACs ranged from 23 percent to 33 percent during the period 1982 to 2012.

 

PEDALCYCLIST KILLED AND FATALITY RATES, 2012 (1)

Age group  Killed   Population  (000)  Fatality rate per
million population
Under 5 2 19,999 0.10
5 to 9 20 20,476 0.98
10 to 15 45 24,813 1.81
16 to 20 66 21,760 3.03
21 to 24 29 18,039 1.61
25 to 34 83 42,309 1.96
35 to 44 89 40,516 2.20
45 to 54 174 44,269 3.93
55 to 64 131 38,586 3.39
65 to 74 52 23,985 2.17
75 to 84 24 13,273 1.81
Over 85   5 5,887 0.85
Total (2) 724 313,914 2.31

(1) Includes riders of bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles powered by pedals, such as tricycles and unicycles.
(2) Includes pedalcyclists of unknown age.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Bureau of the Census.

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PEDALCYCLISTS INJURED AND INJURY RATES, 2012 (1)

Age group Injured Population (000) Injury rate per
million population
Under 5 (2) 19,999 (2)
5 to 9 2,000 20,476 111
10 to 15 8,000 24,813 321
16 to 20 7,000 21,760 299
21 to 24 5,000 18,039 263
25 to 34 9,000 42,309 203
35 to 44 5,000 40,516 126
45 to 54 7,000 44,269 155
55 to 64 5,000 38,586 126
65 to 74 2,000 23,985 69
75 to 84 (2) 13,273 (2)
Over 85 (2) 5,887 (2)
Total 49,000 313,914 157

(1) Includes riders of bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles powered by pedals, such as tricycles and unicycles.
(2) Less than 500 injured.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Bureau of the Census.

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MOTORCYCLIST FATALITIES AND FATALITY RATES, 2004-2013

Year Fatalities Registered motorcycles Fatality rate per 100,000
registered motorcycles
Vehicle miles
traveled (millions)
Fatality rate per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled
2004 4,028 5,767,934 69.83 10,122 39.79
2005 4,576 6,227,146 73.48 10,454 43.77
2006 4,837 6,678,958 72.42 12,049 40.14
2007 5,174 7,138,476 72.48 21,396 24.18
2008 5,312 7,752,926 68.52 20,811 25.52
2009 4,469 7,929,724 56.36 20,822 21.46
2010 4,518 8,009,503 56.41 18,513 24.40
2011 4,630 8,437,502 54.87 18,542 24.97
2012 4,986 8,454,939 58.97 21,385 23.32
2013 4,668 8,404,687 55.54 20,366 22.92

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Federal Highway Administration.

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MOTORCYCLIST INJURIES AND INJURY RATES, 2004-2013

 

Year Injuries Registered motorcycles Injury rate per 100,000
registered motorcycles
Vehicle miles traveled
(millions)
Injury rate per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled
2004 76,000 5,767,934 1,324 10,122 755
2005 87,000 6,227,146 1,402 10,454 835
2006 88,000 6,678,958 1,312 12,049 727
2007 103,000 7,138,476 1,443 21,396 481
2008 96,000 7,752,926 1,238 20,811 461
2009 90,000 7,929,724 1,130 20,822 430
2010 82,000 8,009,503 1,024 18,513 443
2011 81,000 8,437,502 965 18,542 439
2012 93,000 8,454,939 1,099 21,385 434
2013 88,000 8,404,687 1,052 20,366 434

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Federal Highway Administration.

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SPORT INJURIES

Basketball was the most dangerous sport in 2013, followed by biking and football, based on estimates of injuries treated in hospital emergency departments compiled by the National Safety Council. In 2013, 533,509 people suffered injuries while playing basketball, while 521,578 bicycle riders and 420,581 football players were injured.

The National Safety Council reports that there were 184,190 swimming injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2013. About 42 percent of the injuries involved children between the ages of five and 14. A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 174 children between the ages of one and 14 drowned from Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2014. There has been growing concern about the risks of sports-related concussions as lawsuits filed by injured professional football players have generated national headlines. The problem also affects thousands of young people who engage in a variety of sports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2009, an estimated 248,418 children (age 19 or younger) were treated in U.S. emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries that included a diagnosis of concussion or traumatic brain injury.

 

SPORTS INJURIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2013

    Percent of injuries by age
Sport or activity Injuries (1) 0-4 5-14 15-24 25-64 65 and over
Basketball 533,509 0.4% 32.8% 47.8% 18.8% 0.2%
Bicycle riding (2) 521,578 4.6 33.4 18.3 39.0 4.7
Football 420,581 0.3 51.2 39.5 8.9 0.1
Exercise (3) 365,797 1.5 10.6 20.6 56.0 11.3
Soccer 229,088 0.8 44.6 37.8 16.4 0.3
Swimming (4) 184,190 9.2 41.7 17.0 27.8 4.4
Baseball 143,784 2.2 50.2 26.8 19.8 0.9
Skateboarding 120,424 1.0 35.1 51.3 12.4 0.2
Weight lifting 110,188 2.8 8.6 35.8 49.3 3.6
Softball 100,010 0.3 30.5 30.9 37.1 1.2
Fishing 70,541 3.3 16.7 16.6 50.3 13.1
Roller skating (5) 57,743 0.8 53.5 12.3 32.9 0.4
Horseback riding 54,609 1.2 16.9 23.1 53.1 5.6
Volleyball 50,845 (6) 31.9 44.0 23.1 0.9
Wrestling 42,633 (6) 42.2 53.4 4.4 (6)
Snowboarding 38,630 0.4 23.8 51.4 24.1 0.3
Cheerleading 36,311 0.1 52.4 47.0 0.5 (6)
Gymnastics (7) 36,001 3.0 74.0 17.6 4.6 0.7
Martial arts 34,395 0.5 29.0 27.8 42.4 0.3
Golf (8) 33,101 1.7 13.7 7.6 39.2 37.8
Track and field 29,296 (6) 41.3 43.3 13.8 1.7
Ice skating (9) 20,443 0.6 47.0 21.7 28.3 2.4
Boxing 19,675 0.1 6.3 46.6 46.1 0.9
Tennis 19,292 0.5 16.2 16.3 41.3 25.7
Bowling 16,982 11.9 15.1 11.3 50.6 11.1
Ice hockey 16,871 (6) 37.3 40.4 21.2 1.0
Rugby 13,567 (6) 7.3 76.8 15.9 (6)
Mountain biking 9,763 0.8 6.5 19.7 70.9 2.1
Snowmobiling 9,270 (6) 7.2 23.3 69.1 0.4
Archery 5,153 1.6 15.7 23.4 49.8 9.4
Waterskiing 5,114 (6) 8.4 43.1 47.6 0.9
Racquetball, squash and paddleball 4,411 1.9 11.2 32.7 46.4 7.9
Mountain climbing 4,307 (6) 17.3 36.2 43.8 2.7
Hockey, field 4,241 (6) 25.3 61.6 13.1 (6)
Billiards, pool 3,698 9.4 25.2 10.8 49.5 5.1
Horseshoe pitching 1,449 5.4 6.9 12.4 64.7 10.6
Scuba diving (10) 1,437 5.0 10.3 22.6 55.2 6.9

(1) Treated in hospital emergency departments.
(2) Excludes mountain biking.
(3) Includes exercise equipment (60,546 injuries) and exercise activity (305,251 injuries).
(4) Includes injuries associated with swimming, swimming pools, pool slides, diving or diving boards and swimming pool equipment.
(5) Includes roller skating (46,023 injuries) and in-line skating (11,720 injuries).
(6) Less than 0.1 percent.
(7) Excludes trampolines (83,665 injuries).
(8) Excludes golf carts (15,193 injuries).
(9) Excludes 7,491 injuries in skating, unspecified.
(10) Data for 2012.

Source: National Safety Council. (2015). Injury Facts®, 2015 Edition. Itasca, IL.

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WATERCRAFT ACCIDENTS

Federal law requires owners of recreational boats to register them. In 2014 there were 11.8 million registered recreational boats, down from 12.0 million in 2013. An accident occurring on a recreational boat must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard if a person dies or is injured and requires medical treatment beyond first aid; if damage to the boat or other property exceeds $2,000; and if the boat is lost or if a person disappears from the boat. Out of the 4,064 accidents reported in 2014, 581 occurred in Florida, accounting for 14.3 percent of all incidents. Other states with a high number of boating accidents were California (379), New York (175), Texas (167) and Missouri (142).

Boating fatalities increased by 8.9 percent to 610 in 2014 from 560 in 2013. The rate per 100,000 registered recreational boats was 5.2, up from 4.7 in 2013. The number of accidents was mostly unchanged in 2014, at 4,064 compared with 4,062 in 2013. Injuries rose to 2,678 in 2014 from 2,620 in 2013, or 2.2 percent. Property damage totaled $39 million in 2013, about the same as in 2013.

The U.S. Coast Guard says that alcohol, combined with typical boating conditions such as motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray can impair a person's abilities much faster than alcohol consumption on land. Boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.10 percent are estimated to be more than 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than boat operators with zero BAC. Alcohol was the largest primary human factor in boating deaths in 2014 (21 percent of boating fatalities), causing 108 deaths and 248 injuries in 277 accidents. Other primary contributing factors were operator inexperience, resulting in 44 deaths; and operator inattention, accounting for 38 deaths.

 

RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT ACCIDENTS, 2010-2014 (1)

  Accidents Fatalities    
Year Total Involving
alcohol use (2)
Total Involving
alcohol use (2)
Injuries Property
damage
($ millions)
2010 4,604 395 672 154 3,153 $36
2011 4,588 361 758 149 3,081 52
2012 4,515 368 651 140 3,000 38
2013 4,062 305 560 94 2,620 39
2014 4,064 345 610 137 2,678 39

(1) Includes accidents involving $2,000 or more in property damage.
(2) The use of alcohol by a boat's occupants was a direct or indirect cause of the accident.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard.

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  • 78 percent of fatal boating accident victims died by drowning in 2014, and of those, 84 percent were not wearing life jackets.
  • The most common types of boats involved in reported accidents in 2014 were open motorboats (47 percent), personal watercraft (17 percent) and cabin motorboats (15 percent).

 

TOP TEN STATES BY RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT ACCIDENTS, 2013 (1)

Rank State Accidents Deaths  People injured Property damage ($000)
1 Florida 685 58 406 $9,490
2 California 426 37 277 2,244
3 New York 180 18 113 2,699
4 Texas 146 31 106 977
5 North Carolina 139 16 90 754
6 New Jersey 123 8 60 152
7 Tennessee 119 20 75 2,373
8 Missouri 111 16 86 1,037
9 Maryland 110 14 77 713
10 Ohio 108 13 41 1,412

(1) Includes accidents involving $2,000 or more in property damage. Includes watercraft such as motorboats and sailboats and other vessels such as jet skis.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard.

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ATV ACCIDENTS

One in four people (25 percent) injured in accidents involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in 2013 were children under the age of sixteen, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. ATVs are open air vehicles with three, four or six wheels designed for off-road use. A 2013 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that the prohibition against riding ATVs on public roads is often ignored. On average 316 ATV riders died in crashes on public roads in the United States each year between 2009 and 2013, according to the IIHS. Many states require ATV insurance for vehicles operated on state-owned land.

 

ATV-RELATED DEATHS AND INJURIES, 2009-2013 (1)

  Estimated number of deaths Estimated number of injuries (2)
    Younger than 16   Younger than 16
Year Total Number Percent of total Total Number Percent of total
2009 721 96 135 131,900 32,400 255
2010 656 90 14 115,000 28,300 25
2011 620 82 13 107,500 29,000 27
2012 513 59 12 107,900 26,500 25
2013 426 62 15 99,600 25,000 25

(1) ATVs with 3, 4 or unknown number of wheels.
(2) Emergency room-treated.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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