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, 2003-2012

Year Fatalities Registered motorcycles Fatality rate per 100,000 registered vehicles Vehicle miles traveled (millions) Fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
2003 3,714 5,370,035 69.16 9,576 38.78
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 4,957 8,454,939 58.63 21,298 23.27

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

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MOTORCYCLIST INJURIES AND INJURY RATES, 2003-2012

 

Year Injuries Registered motorcycles Injury rate per 100,000 registered motorcycles Vehicle miles traveled (millions) Injury rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
2003 67,000 5,370,035 1,250 9,576 701
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 21,298 436

NA=Data not available.

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

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SPORT INJURIES

Biking is the most dangerous sport, followed by basketball and football, based on estimates of injuries treated in hospital emergency departments compiled by the National Safety Council.

The National Safety Council reports that there were 213,464 swimming injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2012. 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 202 children between the ages of one and 14 drowned from Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2013. 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 an estimated 173,285 sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI), including concussions, among children and adolescents are treated in U.S. emergency rooms annually. Biking, football, playground activities, basketball and soccer are among the leading activities associated with TBI injuries treated in emergency rooms.

 

SPORTS INJURIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 2012

    Percent of injuries by age
Sport or activity Injuries (1) 0-4 5-14 15-24 25-64 65 and over
Archery 6,055 3.6% 10.1% 22.9% 49.1% 14.3%
Baseball 159,220 3.3 50.0 28.0 18.0 0.7
Basketball 569,746 0.4 33.3 48.4 17.8 0.2
Bicycle riding (2) 547,499 5.1 35.0 18.6 37.1 4.1
Billiards, pool 4,983 6.6 17.2 21.5 49.4 5.3
Bowling 18,685 8.5 10.5 11.3 57.7 12.0
Boxing 20,203 1.2 8.4 48.4 42.0 (3)
Cheerleading 39,153 0.1 52.9 46.1 0.9 (3)
Exercise 364,137 (4) 2.1 11.8 20.1 55.0 11.0
Fishing 72,629 2.8 17.7 12.9 55.9 10.6
Football 466,492 0.2 51.6 38.9 9.2 0.1
Golf 36,308 (5) 3.7 16.3 9.5 36.5 34.0
Gymnastics 30,600 (6) 3.1 71.0 21.1 4.5 0.3
Hockey (street, roller, and field) 8,243 0.1 36.3 51.0 12.7 (3)
Horseback riding 66,543 1.8 17.5 22.4 53.5 4.8
Horseshoe pitching 1,898 8.9 31.6 7.9 42.9 8.7
Ice hockey 18,962 (3) 33.7 44.8 21.3 0.2
Ice skating 20,873 (7) 1.6 49.0 18.2 30.2 1.1
Martial arts 36,065 0.6 25.8 31.2 42.2 0.2
Mountain biking 9,176 0.9 7.0 22.2 68.3 1.7
Mountain climbing 4,446 0.1 14.6 37.4 43.8 4.1
Racquetball, squash, and paddleball 5,601 (3) 12.5 25.1 53.7 8.7
Roller skating 62,906 (8) 0.8 53.2 14.2 30.9 0.9
Rugby 15,270 (3) 2.8 79.3 17.8 (3)
Scuba diving 1,437 5.0 10.3 22.6 55.2 6.9
Skateboarding 114,120 1.2 34.3 51.1 13.4 (3)
Snowboarding 38,805 0.2 23.6 53.9 22.2 (3)
Snowmobiling 5,633 1.2 13.0 24.5 56.7 4.6
Soccer 231,447 0.7 42.8 39.2 17.1 0.2
Softball 106,490 0.5 31.0 30.4 37.4 0.7
Swimming 213,464 (9) 9.6 41.7 17.4 27.6 3.6
Tennis 24,224 0.4 17.7 18.4 39.7 23.6
Track and field 29,679 (3) 41.0 47.5 11.2 0.2
Volleyball 61,495 (3) 33.1 45.1 21.3 0.5
Waterskiing 7,577 (3) 8.4 38.0 51.7 1.9
Weight lifting 100,300 3.0 8.7 36.6 49.2 2.5
Wrestling 45,646 (3) 37.2 56.5 6.2 (3)

(1) Treated in hospital emergency departments.
(2) Excludes mountain biking.
(3) Less than 0.1 percent.
(4) Includes exercise equipment (65,934 injuries) and exercise activity (298,203 injuries).
(5) Excludes golf carts (17,266 injuries).
(6) Excludes trampolines (94,945 injuries).
(7) Excludes 6,684 injuries in skating, unspecified.
(8) Includes roller skating (50,078 injuries) and in-line skating (12,828 injuries).
(9) Includes injuries associated with swimming, swimming pools, pool slides, diving or diving boards and swimming pool equipment.

Source: National Safety Council. (2014). Injury Facts®, 2014 Edition. Itasca, IL.

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TOP TEN SPORTS BY PARTICIPATION, 2001-2011 (1)

(millions)

Rank Sport 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011
1 Exercise walking 71.2 79.5 86.0 89.8 93.4 97.1
2 Exercising with equipment 43.0 48.6 54.2 52.9 57.2 55.5
3 Swimming 54.8 47.0 58.0 52.3 50.2 46.0
4 Camping (vacation/overnight) 45.5 51.4 46.0 47.5 50.9 42.8
5 Aerobic exercising 24.3 28.0 33.7 34.8 33.2 42.0
6 Bicycle riding 39.0 36.3 43.1 37.4 38.1 39.1
7 Hiking 26.1 25.0 29.8 28.6 34.0 39.1
8 Running/jogging 24.5 22.9 29.2 30.4 32.2 38.7
9 Bowling 40.3 39.4 45.4 43.5 45.0 34.9
10 Workout at club 26.5 29.5 34.7 36.8 38.3 34.5

(1) Includes people age 7 years old or older who participated more than once. Based on a survey conducted every two years.

Source: National Sporting Goods Association.

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RECREATIONAL BOATING

Federal law requires owners to register recreational boats. In 2013 there were 12.0 million registered recreational boats, down from 12.7 million in 2009. An accident occurring on a recreational boat must be reported to the 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 4,062 accidents reported in 2013, 685 occurred in Florida, accounting for 16.9 percent of all incidents. Other states with a high number of boating accidents were California (426), New York (180), Texas (146) and North Carolina (139).

Boating fatalities fell 14.0 percent from 651 in 2012 to 560 in 2013. The rate per 100,000 registered recreational boats was 4.7, down from 5.4 in 2012. The number of accidents fell 10.0 percent from 4,515 in 2012 to 4,062 in 2013. Injuries also fell, from 3,000 in 2012, or 12.7 percent, to 2,620 in 2013. Property damage totaled $39 million in 2013, up 2.6 percent from 2012.

Research has shown 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 human factor in boating deaths in 2013 (16 percent of boating fatalities), causing 94 deaths in 305 accidents and resulting in 251 injuries. Other primary contributing factors were operator inattention, accounting for 57 deaths, and operator inexperience, resulting in 34 deaths.

 

RECREATIONAL WATERCRAFT ACCIDENTS, 2009-2013 (1)

  Accidents Fatalities    
Year Total Involving
alcohol use (2)
Total Involving
alcohol use (2)
Injuries Property damage
($ millions)
2009 4,730 397 736 165 3,358 $36
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

(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.
(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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  • Almost eight out of 10 (77 percent) of fatal boating accident victims died by drowning in 2013, and of those, 84 percent were not wearing life jackets.
  • The most common types of boats involved in reported accidents in 2013 were open motorboats (46 percent), personal watercraft (18 percent) and cabin motorboats (17 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 2012 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 327 ATV riders died in crashes on public roads in the United States each year between 2008 and 2012, according to the IIHS. Many states require ATV insurance for vehicles operated on state-owned land.

 

ATV-RELATED DEATHS AND INJURIES, 2007-2012 (1)

  Estimated number of deaths Estimated number of injuries (2)
    Younger than 16 years   Younger than 16 years
Year Total Number Percent of total Total Number Percent of total
2007 831 136 16% 150,900 40,000 27%
2008 755 109 14 135,100 37,700 28
2009 718 95 13 131,900 32,400 25
2010 657 88 13 115,000 28,300 25
2011 554 73 13 107,500 29,000 27
2012 353 54 15 107,900 26,500 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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