Facts + Statistics: Sports injuries

 
School sports

Young people aged five to 14 accounted for 51 percent of the football injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2015, according to data from the National Safety Council. This age group accounted for 79 percent of gymnastics injuries, 51 percent of baseball and 40 percent of track and field injuries treated in emergency rooms the same year. (see chart below).

 
Winter sports

In 2015 almost 56,714 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 2016, 38 people died skiing or snowboarding per year on average. During the 2015-2016 season, 39 fatalities occurred out of the 52.8 million skier/snowboarder days reported for the season. Thirty-one of the fatalities were skiers, 7 of the fatalities were snowboarders. The charts below provide further information on sports and recreational injuries.

 
Bicycle crashes

Bicyclist fatalities had been declining steadily since 1975, and fell to a record low of 621 in 2010, according to a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association.  By 2015, Bicyclist fatalities were up 12.2 percent to 818 compared with 2014. The report, which was compiled with funding from State Farm Insurance, notes that bicyclists have consistently accounted for at least 2 percent of all traffic fatalities, which rose 7.2 percent in 2015.  The average age of bicyclists killed in traffic crashes was 45 years old in 2014 and 2015, up from 42 in 2010 and 39 in 2005, based on data from the Fatal Accident Reporting System at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Through 1989, teens between the ages of 16 and 20 had accounted for the greatest number of bicyclist traffic deaths.  Eighty-five percent of bicyclist deaths were among males compared with 15 percent for women in 2015. The proportions for injuries were 80 percent for males and 20 percent for females. Warm-weather, large population states had the highest numbers of bicyclist deaths. The GHSA says that Florida, California and Texas accounted for 40 percent of all bicyclist deaths in 2015.

Biking is the third most dangerous sport after basketball, based on estimates of injuries treated in hospital emergency departments compiled by the National Safety Council. In 2015, 488,123 people were treated for injuries sustained while riding bicycles. According to the Breakaway Research Group, 34 percent of Americans, or 103.7 million people between the ages of 3 and older, rode bicycles in 2015. Bicycles are increasingly being used for more than recreation. The percentage of adults who biked to work grew from 0.4 percent in 2005 to 0.6 percent in 2013, according to the Alliance for Biking and Walking. Large cities saw the largest increases in biking to work: the percentage increased from 0.7 percent to 1.2 percent from 2005 to 2013.The FBI reports that 180,123 bicycles were stolen in 2015, down 0.2 percent from 2014. The average value of a stolen bicycle was $444 in 2015.

 

 
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 Safety Administration 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.

 

 
Pedalcyclists Killed And Fatality Rates, 2015 (1)

Age group Killed Population (000) Fatality rate per million population
Under 5 6 19,907 0.30
5 to 9 10 20,487 0.49
10 to 14 28 20,622 1.36
Children (14 and under) 44 61,016 0.72
15 to 19 47 21,109 2.23
20 to 24 51 22,739 2.24
25 to 29 45 22,462 2.00
30 to 34 52 21,676 2.40
35 to 39 44 20,375 2.16
40 to 44 63 20,215 3.12
45 to 49 79 20,854 3.79
50 to 54 99 22,334 4.43
55 to 59 108 21,808 4.95
60-64 78 19,070 4.09
65-69 50 16,067 3.11
70 to 74 26 11,483 2.26
75 to 79 14 8,124 1.72
80 and over 12 12,087 0.99
Seniors (65 and over) 102 47,761 2.14
Total (2) 817 321,419 2.54

(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, 2015 (1)

Age group Injured Population (000) Injury rate per million population
Under 5 (2) 19,907 (2)
5 to 9 1,000 20,487 57
10 to 14 4,000 20,622 201
Children (14 and under) 5,000 61,016 82
15 to 19 5,000 21,109 256
20 to 24 5,000 22,739 217
25 to 29 5,000 22,462 211
30 to 34 3,000 21,676 134
35 to 39 3,000 20,375 171
40 to 44 3,000 20,215 136
45 to 49 4,000 20,854 174
50 to 54 3,000 22,334 151
55 to 59 3,000 21,808 160
60-64 2,000 19,070 131
65-69 1,000 16,067 74
70 to 74 1,000 11,483 56
75 to 79 (2) 8,124 (2)
80 and over (2) 12,087 (2)
Seniors (65 and over) 2,000 47,761 42
Total (2) 45,000 321,419 140

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

Note: Injured totals may not equal sum of components due to independent rounding.

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

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Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Fatalities, Pedalcyclist Traffic Fatalities, And Fatality Rates, By State, 2015

 

State Total traffic
fatalities
Pedalcyclist
fatalities
Pedalcyclists as a
percent of total
traffic fatalities
Pedalcyclist fatalities
per million population
Alabama 849 9 1.1% 1.9
Alaska 65 0 (1) 0.0
Arizona 893 29 3.2 4.3
Arkansas 531 3 0.6 1.0
California 3,176 129 4.1 3.3
Colorado 546 13 2.4 2.4
Connecticut 266 3 1.1 0.8
Delaware 126 3 2.4 3.2
DC 23 1 4.3 1.5
Florida 2,939 150 5.1 7.4
Georgia 1,430 23 1.6 2.3
Hawaii 94 2 2.1 1.4
Idaho 216 0 (1) 0.0
Illinois 998 26 2.6 2.0
Indiana 821 12 1.5 1.8
Iowa 320 5 1.6 1.6
Kansas 355 3 0.8 1.0
Kentucky 761 7 0.9 1.6
Louisiana 726 34 4.7 7.3
Maine 156 0 0.0 0.0
Maryland 513 11 2.1 1.8
Massachusetts 306 9 2.9 1.3
Michigan 963 33 3.4 3.3
Minnesota 411 10 2.4 1.8
Mississippi 677 5 0.7 1.7
Missouri 869 9 1.0 1.5
Montana 224 1 0.4 1.0
Nebraska 246 4 1.6 2.1
Nevada 325 10 3.1 3.5
New Hampshire 114 3 2.6 2.3
New Jersey 562 18 3.2 2.0
New Mexico 298 7 2.3 3.4
New York 1,121 36 3.2 1.8
North Carolina 1,379 23 1.7 2.3
North Dakota 131 1 0.8 1.3
Ohio 1,110 25 2.3 2.2
Oklahoma 643 6 0.9 1.5
Oregon 447 8 1.8 2.0
Pennsylvania 1,200 16 1.3 1.3
Rhode Island 45 0 (1) 0.0
South Carolina 977 16 1.6 3.3
South Dakota 133 1 0.8 1.2
Tennessee 958 10 1.0 1.5
Texas 3,516 50 1.4 1.8
Utah 276 5 1.8 1.7
Vermont 57 4 7.0 6.4
Virginia 753 15 2.0 1.8
Washington 568 14 2.5 2.0
West Virginia 268 1 0.4 0.5
Wisconsin 566 15 2.7 2.6
Wyoming 145 0 (1) 0.0
Total United States 35,092 818 2.3% 2.5

(1) Less than 0.1 percent.

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

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Total And Pedalcyclists Traffic Fatalities And Fatality Rates By City, 2014 (1)

 

      Pedalcyclists Fatality rate per
million population
City (2) Resident
population
Total traffic
fatalities
Killed As a percent of total
traffic fatalities
Total Pedalcyclist Rank (3)
New York, NY 8,491,079 248 20 8.1% 29.21 2.36 9
Los Angeles, CA 3,928,864 240 7 2.9 61.09 1.78 17
Chicago, IL 2,722,389 120 6 5.0 44.08 2.20 11
Houston, TX 2,239,558 232 6 2.6 103.59 2.68 8
Philadelphia, PA 1,560,297 97 3 3.1 62.17 1.92 15
Phoenix, AZ 1,537,058 177 11 6.2 115.16 7.16 2
San Antonio, TX 1,436,697 147 1 0.7 102.32 0.70 26
San Diego, CA 1,381,069 79 3 3.8 57.2 2.17 12
Dallas, TX 1,281,047 154 1 0.6 120.21 0.78 25
San Jose, CA 1,015,785 55 2 3.6 54.15 1.97 13
Austin, TX 912,791 58 0 0.0 63.54 0.00 27
Jacksonville, FL 853,382 106 1 0.9 124.21 1.17 24
San Francisco, CA 852,469 32 2 6.3 37.54 2.35 10
Indianapolis, IN 848,788 83 1 1.2 97.79 1.18 23
Columbus, OH 835,957 49 3 6.1 58.62 3.59 5
Fort Worth, TX 812,238 76 1 1.3 93.57 1.23 21
Charlotte, NC 809,958 62 1 1.6 76.55 1.23 22
Detroit, MI 680,250 125 3 2.4 183.76 4.41 4
El Paso, TX 679,036 49 0 0.0 72.16 0.00 27
Seattle, WA 668,342 18 2 11.1 26.93 2.99 7
Denver, CO 663,862 42 3 7.1 63.27 4.52 3
Washington, DC 658,893 23 1 4.3 34.91 1.52 20
Memphis, TN 656,861 89 0 0.0 135.49 0.00 27
Boston, MA 655,884 22 1 4.5 33.54 1.52 20
Nashville-Davidson metropolitan area,TN 644,014 52 0 0.0 80.74 0.00 27
Baltimore, MD 622,793 30 1 3.3 48.17 1.61 19
Oklahoma City, OK 620,602 68 2 2.9 109.57 3.22 6
Portland, OR 619,360 21 0 0.0 33.91 0.00 27
Las Vegas, NV 613,599 39 0 0.0 63.56 0.00 27
Louisville/Jefferson County metropolitan area, KY 612,780 70 1 1.4 114.23 1.63 18
Milwaukee, WI 599,642 50 0 0.0 83.38 0.00 27
Albuquerque, NM 557,169 55 1 1.8 98.71 1.79 16
Tucson, AZ 527,972 51 6 11.8 96.6 11.36 1
Fresno, CA 515,986 21 1 4.8 40.7 1.94 14

(1) Ranked by city population.
(2) Population of 500,000 or more.
(3) Cities with the same pedalist fatality rate per million population receive the same rank.

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

 

 

 
Motorcyclist Fatalities And Fatality Rates, 2006-2015

 

Year Fatalities Registered motorcycles Fatality rate per 100,000 registered motorcycles Vehicle miles traveled (millions) Fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
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 4,692 8,404,687 55.83 20,366 23.04
2014 4,594 8,417,718 54.58 19,970 23.00
2015 4,976 NA NA NA NA

NA=Data not available.

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

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Motorcyclist Injuries And Injury Rates, 2006-2015

 

Year Injuries Registered motorcycles Injury rate per 100,000 registered motorcycles Vehicle miles traveled (millions) Injury rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled
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
2014 92,000 8,417,718 1,088 19,970 459
2015 88,000 NA NA NA NA

NA=Data not available.

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

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Sports injuries

Basketball was the most dangerous sport in 2014, with 522,817 injuries reported followed by biking, with 502,104 injuries and football, with 396,457 injuries.

The National Safety Council reports that there were 179,188 swimming injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2014. 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 By Number of Injuries, 2015

      Number of injuries by age
Sport or activity Injuries (1) Percent concussion-
related (2)
Younger
than 5
5 to 14 14 to 24 25 to 64 65 and older
Basketball 493,011 3% 1,736 172,998 225,560 91,529 1,158
Bicycle riding 488,123 3 20,085 147,916 87,869 195,576 36,646
Football 399,873 8 990 204,795 158,315 35,294 479
Exercise (3) 361,551 1 5,696 36,947 75,015 196,445 47,432
Soccer 227,732 6 2,064 104,167 84,972 36,122 407
Swimming (4) 191,396 2 18,089 79,312 32,309 51,537 10,133
Skateboarding 125,145 3 1,150 40,488 63,375 19,877 239
Baseball 120,234 5 3,248 61,215 33,958 20,266 1,547
Weight lifting 107,655 1 3,160 8,921 34,833 56,535 4,206
Trampolines 107,123 2 16,636 68,323 13,399 8,592 173
Softball 95,285 4 203 31,311 30,036 32,429 1,306
Fishing 66,529 <0.5 1,330 10,023 11,103 35,556 8,518
Dancing 58,160 1 2,124 14,521 16,531 19,856 5,128
Skating–roller (5) 57,192 <0.5 380 30,586 8,755 16,735 736
Volleyball 57,067 4 196 19,304 25,434 11,429 704
Horseback riding 56,727 7 754 9,268 14,402 28,055 4,248
Cheerleading 40,843 6 98 22,861 17,467 417 0
Wrestling 39,775 7 0 15,483 21,641 2,651 0
Golf (6) 37,369 <0.5 855 3,958 1,982 12,964 17,610
Gymnastics (7) 35,063 2 686 27,657 5,019 1,680 16
Track and field 32,237 2 114 12,821 14,347 4,719 237
Martial arts 26,949 3 181 7,351 7,823 11,451 143
Snowboarding 25,452 10 43 6,292 13,367 5,622 128
Tennis 23,609 2 121 3,254 3,352 10,078 6,804
Skating–ice 21,701 6 287 9,438 5,910 5,637 429
Hockey–unspecified 21,339 4 140 7,100 7,703 6,365 32
Hockey–ice 19,283 12 38 6,296 7,583 4,999 367
Bowling 17,680 1 1,501 2,118 3,451 8,496 2,113
Boxing 16,897 4 49 2,259 7,483 7,075 30
Lacrosse 15,999 8 0 5,691 9,579 729 0
Surfing 13,832 1 17 3,138 3,327 7,065 286
Rugby 11,101 7 0 255 9,186 1,660 0
Snowmobiling 9,561 6 81 733 2,404 5,974 370
Biking–mountain 9,011 5 16 454 1,582 6,653 306
Water skiing 7,335 4 0 544 2,535 3,946 311
Skating–unspecified 6,828 <0.5 16 4,484 1,042 1,237 49
Hockey–street, roller, field 5,901 6 17 1,766 2,635 1,483 0
Water tubing 5,280 9 0 1,205 1,336 2,690 49
Mountain climbing 5,186 2 91 315 1,874 2,877 31
Archery 4,506 <0.5 22 755 825 2,484 420
Racquetball, squash and paddleball 4,354 <0.5 6 392 1,108 2,081 767
Handball 4,103 2 0 1,302 1,469 1,045 287
Billiards, pool 3,299 2 126 752 314 1,601 506

(1) Treated in hospital emergency departments. Excludes skiing.
(2) Concussion listed as primary diagnosis
(3) Includes exercise equipment (64,093 injuries) and exercise activity (297,458 injuries).
(4) Includes injuries associated with swimming, swimming pools, pool slides, diving or diving boards and swimming pool equipment.
(5) Includes roller skating (46,469 injuries) and in-line skating (10,723 injuries).
(6) Excludes golf carts (17,754 injuries).
(7) Excludes trampolines.

Source: National Safety Council. Injury Facts®, 2017 Edition. Itasca, IL.

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Watercraft accidents

Federal law requires owners of recreational boats and watercraft (non-commercial) to register them. In 2016 there were 11.9 million registered recreational watercraft, about the same number as in 2015. A recreational boating accident 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; if the boat is lost or if a person disappears from the boat. Out of the 4,463 accidents reported in 2016, 684 occurred in Florida. Other states with a high number of accidents were California (386), New York (188), Texas (176) and Maryland (150).

Fatalities increased by 12.0 percent to 701 in 2016 from 626 in 2015. The rate per 100,000 registered watercraft was 5.9, up from 5.3 in 2015. The number of accidents rose in 2016 to 4,463 from 4,158 in 2015, up 7.3 percent. Injuries rose to 2,903 in 2016 from 2,613 in 2015, or 11.1 percent. Property damage totaled $49 million in 2016, up from $42 million in 2015.

The U.S. Coast Guard says that alcohol, combined with typical conditions such as motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray can impair a person's abilities much faster than alcohol consumption on land. 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 an accident than watercraft operators with zero BAC. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 350 recreational watercraft accidents in 2016 (7.8 percent of all accidents), accounting for 133 deaths (19.0 percent of all deaths) and 335 injuries (11.5 percent of all injuries). Other primary contributing factors were operator inexperience, resulting in 62 deaths; and operator inattention accounting for 45 deaths.

 

 
Recreational Boating Accidents, 2012-2016 (1)

 

  Accidents Fatalities    
Year Total Involving
alcohol use (2)
Total Involving
alcohol use (2)
Injuries Property damage
($ millions)
2012 4,515 368 651 139 3,000 $38
2013 4,062 305 560 94 2,620 39
2014 4,064 345 610 137 2,678 39
2015 4,158 306 626 122 2,613 42
2016 4,463 350 701 133 2,903 49

(1) Includes accidents involving $2,000 or more in property damage. Includes U.S. territories and offshore accidents.
(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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  • 80 percent of fatal boating accident victims died by drowning in 2016, and of those, 83 percent were not wearing life jackets.
  • The most common types of watercraft involved in reported accidents in 2016 were open motorboats (47 percent), personal watercraft (Jet Skis) (18 percent) and cabin motorboats (15 percent).

 

 
Top 10 States By Recreational Watercraft Accidents, 2016 (1)

Rank State Accidents Deaths People injured Property damage ($000)
1 Florida 684 70 411 $9,656
2 California 386 47 277 4,409
3 New York 188 22 149 1,308
4 Texas 176 53 124 985
5 Maryland 150 16 116 3,738
6 North Carolina 143 23 84 3,348
7 Missouri 137 16 107 1,178
8 South Carolina 136 23 84 986
9 Michigan 125 38 65 550
10 Tennessee 116 18 66 1,189

(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

More than one in four people (28 percent) injured in accidents involving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in 2015 were children under the age of 16, 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, 2011-2015 (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
2011 622 80 13% 107,500 29,000 27%
2012 573 68 12 107,900 26,500 25
2013 581 70 12 99,600 25,000 25
2014 547 71 13 93,700 24,800 26
2015 340 58 17 97,200 26,700 28

(1) ATVs with 3, 4 or unknown number of wheels designed for off-road use.
(2) Emergency room-treated.

Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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