Which Sports Cause The Most Injuries?

Which Sports Cause The Most Injuries
Top 15 Sports that caused the Most Injuries

  • Bicycling: 425,910 injuries.
  • Using exercise equipment: 377,939 injuries.
  • Skateboards, scooters, hoverboards: 217,646 injuries.
  • Basketball: 214,847 injuries.
  • Swimming: 129,708 injuries.
  • Football: 122,181 injuries.
  • Playground equipment: 120,829 injuries.
  • Trampolines: 106,358 injuries.

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Which sports cause more sports injuries?

Types – Sports injuries are broadly categorized into two kinds:

Acute injuries, which happen suddenly. Chronic injuries, which are usually related to overuse and develop gradually over time.

In some cases, wear and tear from overuse injuries can set the stage for acute injuries. Types of Musculoskeletal Injuries Injuries to the musculoskeletal system that are common in athletes include fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, tendinitis, or bursitis. These terms are defined below.

Bone fracture, A fracture is a break in a bone that occurs from either a quick, one-time injury, known as an acute fracture, or from repeated stress, known as a stress fracture. Growth plate fractures are unique to children who are still growing.

Acute fractures. A fall, car accident, or blow can cause a fracture, and the severity depends on the force that caused the break. The bone may crack, break all the way through, or shatter. Injuries that break through the skin to the bone, which are known as compound fractures, are especially serious because there is an increased risk of infection. Most acute fractures are emergencies. Stress fractures. Stress fractures occur largely in the weight-bearing bones of the lower extremity. These include the femur, tibia and fibula, and foot bones. They are common in sports where there is repetitive impact, primarily running or jumping sports such as gymnastics, tennis, basketball, or track and field. Running creates forces two to three times a person’s body weight on the lower limbs. Growth plate fractures. The growth plate is an area of cartilage near the ends of long bones, and they enable the bones to lengthen until children reach their full height. Growth plates are especially vulnerable to injury until they are converted to bone, typically by the time a child reaches the age of 20. Growth plate fractures can result from a single traumatic event, such as a fall or car accident, or from chronic stress and overuse.

Dislocation. When the two bones that come together to form a joint become separated, the joint is described as dislocated. Contact sports such as football and basketball, as well as high-impact sports and sports that involve significant stretching or falling, cause most dislocations. A dislocated joint typically requires immediate medical treatment, but sometimes the bones move back into place on their own. A dislocation is a painful injury and is most common in shoulders, elbows, fingers, kneecap, and femur-tibia or knee. Sprain. Sprains are stretches or tears of ligaments, the bands of connective tissue that join the end of one bone with another. Sprains are caused by trauma such as a fall or blow that knocks a joint out of position. Sprains can range from first degree (minimally stretched ligament) to third degree (a complete tear). Areas of the body most vulnerable to sprains are ankles, knees, and wrists. Strain. A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon, a cord of tissue connecting muscle to bone. Athletes who play contact sports can get strains, but they can also happen from repeating the same motion again and again, as in tennis or golf. Like sprains, strains can range from a minor stretch to a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon. This is most common in muscle or tendons between two joints. Tendinitis. Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon, a flexible band of fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. It often affects the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, or ankle. Tendinitis can be caused by a sudden injury, but it usually results from carrying out the same motion over and over. People such as carpenters, gardeners, musicians, and certain types of athletes, such as golfers and tennis players, have a higher risk of tendinitis. Tendons become less flexible as you age, so you are more likely to get tendinitis as you get older. Bursitis. Bursitis is inflammation of the bursae (plural of “bursa”), small, fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between a bone and other moving parts, such as muscles, tendons, or skin. Bursitis can be caused by a one-time event like a blow or fall. It can also result from repeating the same motion many times, like throwing a ball, or from prolonged pressure, such as from kneeling on a hard surface or leaning on the elbows. It usually affects the shoulders, elbows, hips, or knees.

Common Sports Injuries Most sports injuries involve one or more of the types of musculoskeletal injuries described above. The joints are particularly susceptible because a person’s body places significant demands on them. Joints must provide both stability and flexibility, and they are complex structures that include several interconnected parts.

Shoulder Injuries

Rotator cuff injury. These are the most common shoulder injuries. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries happen when the tendons or bursae near the joint become inflamed from overuse or a sudden injury. They are common in people with jobs that involve overhead motions, like painters, or athletes who repeatedly reach upward, such as tennis players and swimmers. Impingement. This happens when the top of the shoulder blade puts pressure on the soft tissues beneath it when the arm is lifted. Tendinitis and bursitis can develop, limiting movement and causing pain. Repeated overhead movements, such as those used by swimmers, increase the risk of impingement. Instability. Shoulder instability happens when the round end of the upper arm bone is forced out of its shallow socket, either partially or completely. Once the tendons, ligaments, and muscles of the shoulder become stretched or torn, the shoulder becomes “loose” and dislocations can occur repeatedly.

Elbow Injuries

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). When you play tennis or other racket sports, the tendons in the elbow can develop small tears and become inflamed, causing pain on the outside of the elbow. Painters, plumbers, carpenters, and others who repetitively use their forearms are also at higher risk of getting tennis elbow. Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis). This is a form of tendinitis that causes pain in the inner part of the elbow. Pain may spread to the forearm and wrist. Golfers and others who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers can develop it. Little league elbow. This is a growth plate injury to the elbow caused by repetitive throwing in youths. It is most common in pitchers, but any young athlete who throws repeatedly can get it. The pain is in the inner part of the elbow. Ulnar collateral ligament injury. Repeated throwing can cause tears to this ligament on the inner part of the elbow, causing pain and decreased throwing effectiveness.

Knee Injuries

Runner’s knee. Also called jumper’s knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome, this condition causes pain or tenderness close to or under the kneecap (patella) at the front of the knee. It is common in runners, but it also affects people who are active in other ways, such as those who hike or cycle. Fracture. Fractures can happen in any bone around the knee, but the kneecap (patella) is the most common, usually as a result of an event like a bad fall or a blow to the knee. Dislocation. A large impact to the knee can cause the kneecap to be forced from the groove in the thigh bone (femur) and pushed out of alignment, causing the kneecap to slip out of position. Torn ligament. When the knee is over-extended or twisted, the ligaments within it can tear. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are especially common in athletes. They often happen when the person changes direction suddenly or lands from a jump. Meniscal tear. Meniscal cartilage serves as a shock absorber in the knee. An awkward twist or pivot can cause a tear. They are commonly torn when the knee suffers a sprain or complete tear of the knee ligaments. Tendon tear. Tendon tears tend to be more common in middle-aged people who play sports that involve running and jumping. They often happen because of a forceful landing and sometimes from an awkward jump.

Leg Injuries

Groin pull. Quick side-to-side motions can strain the muscles of the inner thighs and lead to a groin pull. People who play sports such as hockey, soccer, football, and baseball have a higher risk of groin pulls. Hamstring strain. Three muscles run along the back of the thigh and form the hamstring. Activities that involve a lot of running, jumping, and sudden starts and stops place you at risk of a hamstring strain. Basketball, football, and soccer players commonly get them. Shin splints. Shin splints refers to the pain caused by inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue along the inside length of the shinbone (tibia), the large bone in the front of the lower leg. The pain is usually on the inner side of the lower leg. Shin splints are primarily seen in runners, particularly those just starting a running program.

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Ankle Injuries

Ankle sprain. You can sprain your ankle when you roll, twist, or turn your ankle in an awkward way, stretching or tearing the ligaments in the joint. It can happen when you land awkwardly when jumping or pivoting, when walking on an uneven surface, or when someone else lands on your foot. People who play sports in which there is a lot of pivoting, such as volleyball and basketball, are at risk of an ankle sprain. Achilles tendinitis. An Achilles tendon injury results from a stretch, tear, or irritation to the tendon connecting the calf muscle to the back of the heel. The Achilles is the largest tendon in the body and you use it when you walk, run, climb stairs, jump, and stand on the tips of your toes. People with Achilles tendinitis usually feel pain and stiffness at the back of the heel, especially in the morning. Achilles tendinitis is usually a chronic condition caused by overuse, but serious cases can lead to a tear that may require surgery.

Who are more at risk in having injury?

Key facts –

Injuries – both unintentional and violence-related – take the lives of 4.4 million people around the world each year and constitute nearly 8% of all deaths. For people age 5-29 years, 3 of the top 5 causes of death are injury-related, namely road traffic injuries, homicide and suicide. Injuries and violence are responsible for an estimated 10% of all years lived with disability. Injuries and violence place a massive burden on national economies, costing countries billions of US dollars each year in health care, lost productivity and law enforcement. Preventing injuries and violence will facilitate achievement of several Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.

Overview: Injuries result from road traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns, poisoning and acts of violence against oneself or others, among other causes. Of the 4.4 million injury-related deaths, unintentional injuries take the lives of 3.16 million people every year and violence-related injuries kill 1.25 million people every year.

Roughly 1 in 3 of these deaths result from road traffic crashes, 1 in 6 from suicide, 1 in 10 from homicide and 1 in 61 from war and conflict. For people age 5-29 years, 3 of the top 5 causes of death are injury-related, namely road traffic injuries, homicide and suicide. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of death for children age 5-14 years.

Falls account for over 684,000 deaths each year and are a growing and under-recognized public health issue. Tens of millions more people suffer non-fatal injuries each year which lead to emergency department and acute care visits, hospitalizations or treatment by general practitioners and often result in temporary or permanent disability and the need for long-term physical and mental health care and rehabilitation.

For example, there has been a significant rise in road traffic injuries in the African region since 2000, with an almost 50% increase in healthy life-years lost. Impact: Beyond death and injury, exposure to any form of trauma, particularly in childhood, can increase the risk of mental illness and suicide; smoking, alcohol and substance abuse; chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and social problems such as poverty, crime and violence.

For these reasons, preventing injuries and violence, including by breaking intergenerational cycles of violence, goes beyond avoiding the physical injury to contributing to substantial health, social and economic gains. Injuries and violence are a significant cause of death and burden of disease in all countries; however, they are not evenly distributed across or within countries – some people are more vulnerable than others depending on the conditions in which they are born, grow, work, live and age.

  • For instance, in general, being young, male and of low socioeconomic status all increase the risk of injury and of being a victim or perpetrator of serious physical violence.
  • The risk of fall-related injuries increases with age.
  • Twice as many males than females are killed each year as a result of injuries and violence.

Worldwide, about three quarters of deaths from road traffic injuries, four fifths of deaths from homicide, and two thirds of deaths from war are among men. In many low- and middle-income countries, however, women and girls are more likely to be burned than men and boys, in large part due to exposure to unsafe cooking arrangements and energy poverty.

  • Across all ages, the three leading causes of death from injuries for males are road traffic injuries, homicide and suicide, while for females they are road traffic injuries, falls and suicide.
  • Poverty also increases the risk of injury and violence.
  • About 90% of injury-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Across the world, injury death rates are higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries. Even within countries, people from poorer economic backgrounds have higher rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries than people from wealthier economic backgrounds.

This holds true even in high-income countries. The uneven distribution of injuries that makes them more prevalent among the less advantaged is related to several risk factors. These include living, working, travelling and going to school in more precarious conditions, less focus on prevention efforts in underprivileged communities, and poorer access to quality emergency trauma care and rehabilitation services.

These issues are explained in more detail below. Risk factors and determinants: Risk factors and determinants common to all types of injuries include alcohol or substance use; inadequate adult supervision of children; and broad societal determinants of health such as poverty; economic and gender inequality; unemployment; a lack of safety in the built environment, including unsafe housing, schools, roads and workplaces; inadequate product safety standards and regulations; easy access to alcohol, drugs, firearms, knives and pesticides; weak social safety nets; frail criminal justice systems; and inadequate institutional policies to address injuries in a consistent and effective manner, in part due to the availability of sufficient resources.

  • In settings where emergency trauma care services are weak or there is inequitable access to services, the consequences of injuries and violence can be exacerbated.
  • Prevention: Injuries and violence are predictable and there is compelling scientific evidence for what works to prevent injuries and violence and to treat their consequences in various settings.

This evidence has been collated into technical documents that can serve as a guide to support decisions for scaling up injury and violence prevention efforts – see:

Save LIVES: a road safety technical package Preventing drowning: an implementation guide V iolence prevention: the evidence I NSPIRE: seven strategies for preventing violence against children RESPECT women: preventing violence against women LIVE LIFE: suicide prevention implementation package SAFER: a world free from alcohol related harms

Analysis of the costs and benefits for several selected injury and violence prevention measures shows that they offer significant value for money, making investment in such measures of great societal benefit. For example, with regard to child injury prevention, a study found that every US$ 1 invested in smoke detectors saves US$ 65, in child restraints and bicycle helmets saves US$ 29, and in-home visitation saves US$ 6 in medical costs, loss productivity and property loss.

  1. In Bangladesh, teaching school-age children swimming and rescue skills returned US$ 3000 per death averted.
  2. The social benefits of injuries prevented through home modification to prevent falls have been estimated to be at least six times the cost of intervention.
  3. It is estimated that in Europe and North America, a 10% reduction in adverse childhood experiences could equate to annual savings of 3 million Disability Adjusted Life Years or US$ 105 billion.

Post-injury care: For all injuries and violence, providing quality emergency care for victims can prevent fatalities, reduce the amount of short-term and long-term disability, and help those affected to cope physically, emotionally, financially and legally with the impact of the injury or violence on their lives.

As such, improving the organization, planning and access to trauma care systems, including telecommunications, transport to hospital, prehospital and hospital-based care, are important strategies to minimize fatalities and disabilities from injury and violence. Providing rehabilitation for people with disabilities, ensuring they have access to assistive products such as wheelchairs, and removing barriers to social and economic participation are key strategies to ensure that people who experience disability as the result of an injury or violence may continue a full and enjoyable life.

WHO response: WHO supports efforts to address injuries and violence in many ways, including by:

developing and disseminating guidance for countries on evidence-based policy and practice including those listed above; providing technical support to countries through programmes such as the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety and the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children;documenting and disseminating successful injury prevention approaches, policies and programmes across countries;monitoring progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal targets linked to injury, violence prevention, mental health and substance use – namely targets 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 5.2, 5.3, 16.1 and 16.2 – through global status reports on road safety and violence prevention, and on alcohol and health, and world reports on preventing suicide; through informal networks chaired by WHO such as the UN Road Safety Collaboration and the Violence Prevention Alliance, and others towards which WHO contributes like the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children, coordinating global efforts across the UN system including decades of action, ministerial conferences and weeks and days dedicated to injury-related topics to improve road safety and end violence;clarifying the role of Ministries of Health as part of multi-sectoral injury-prevention efforts, as reflected in Preventing injuries and violence: a guide for ministries of health, including its role in collecting data; developing national policies and plans; building capacities; facilitating prevention measures; providing services for victims, including emergency trauma care; promulgating legislation on key risks; and training journalists to improve reporting on these issues with a focus on solutions and by co-hosting biannual global meetings and regional meetings of Ministry of Health focal points for violence and injury prevention; and co-hosting and serving on the International Organizing Committee for the series of biannual World Conferences on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, the 14 th edition of which will take place in Adelaide, Australia, in 2022.

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What are the funniest sports injuries of all time?

Ever see that your favorite player is heading to an injured list and you just wonder why? You didn’t see them get injured while making a play on the field or on the ice. Well, here are the hidden, funniest sports injures of all time. I guarantee they’ll cause you to shake your head and ask, “Just what the hell were they thinking?” Baseball Sammy Sosa: Missed three weeks with a back injury after he sneezed violently.

  • Brent Mayne: Checked for traffic before crossing the street, pulled a neck muscle.
  • Adam Eaton: Accidentally stabbed himself while trying to open a DVD case with a steak knife.
  • Mariano Rivera: Tied his shoes, threw out his back.
  • Steve Sparks: Friends challenged him to a phone book tearing contest—he dislocated his shoulder.

John Smoltz: Ironed a shirtwhile he was wearing it. Glenallen Hill: Had a dream he was being chased by a giant spider. He jumped out of bed and sliced open his foot on a glass table. Moises Alou: Woke up this morning. Clint Barmes: Broke his collarbone by carrying deer meat up to his apartment.

  1. Johnny Damon: Injured back by getting into a car.
  2. Evin Mitchell: Put a donut in the microwave.
  3. Microwave exploded.
  4. Ricky Bones: Tore muscle in his hand while changing channels with a TV remote.
  5. Roger Craig: Cut his hand while adjusting the strap of his wife’s bra.
  6. Juan Sandoval: Shot in the face with a shotgun.

Jeff Cirillo: Hit a game winning home run, jumped into the air and threw his helmet to the ground. Twisted ankle when he stepped on the helmet. Hunter Pence: Walked through a really clean, glass door. Jimmy Gobble: Kicked a cactus barefoot. Kazuo Matsui: Anal fissure.

No more details needed. Matt Morris: Jumped off a flight of stairs. Twisted ankle. Julian Tavares: Broke hand by punching a dugout phone. Keichi Yabu: Was using a Bowflex in the locker room when the strap snapped and sliced open his face. Hockey Wade Belak: Bit by a spider. Ron Tugnutt: Tied his shoes and pulled a groin muscle.

Eric Lindros: Showed up at the arena. Manny Fernandez: Injured his back while blow drying his hair. Jose Theodore: Broke ankle when he slipped on an icy driveway. Brent Sopel: Threw out his back when he picked up a broken cracker off the floor. Football Brian Griese: Sprained ankle after being chased by a dog.

  • Chris Hanson: Cut open his foot while chopping wood with an axe.
  • J ake Plummer: Injured foot while getting off the couch.
  • Ben Roethlisberger: Was given a motorcycle license.
  • Bill Grammatica: Kicked a football.
  • Robert Pratt: Ran out on the field for the coin toss.
  • Pulled a hamstring.
  • Chase Blackburn: Suffered inner ear injury when he put a Q-tip in too far.

Max McGee: Fell off the roof while cleaning the gutters on his house. Basketball Magic Johnson: Had unprotected sex. Darryl Dawkins: Sliced open hand while washing a broken dinner plate. Tony Allen: After the whistle blew and play was dead, he attempted to slam dunk a ball.

  1. Tore his ACL.
  2. Drew Gooden: Infected hair follicle.
  3. Evin Johnson: Dislocated shoulder while giving his team mate a hug.
  4. Other Wonderful Sports John Furyk: Injured his neck while brushing his teeth.
  5. Lee Trevino: Got struck by lightning.
  6. Evin Kyle: Received first degree burns on his pubic region when someone threw a pot of boiling water at him.

Dale Earnhardt: Accelerated.

What is the least healthiest sport?

Which sports lead to which injuries? – “Each sport subjects the athlete to different biomechanical forces or stresses that can lead to injuries specific to that sport,” says Dr Lorenzo Masci, sports and exercise medicine consultant at the Institute of Sport, Exercise & Health ( ISEH ), in partnership with HCA Healthcare UK.

For example, sports involving excessive and repeated extension and rotation of the spine – diving, cricket bowling, tennis – can led to stress fractures in the spine, while rowing can lead to stress fractures of the ribs,” Giles Stafford, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at The Wellington Hospital, part of HCA UK, points out that, while it’s simplistic to link certain injuries with certain sports, there are some common ailments he sees at his clinic.

“Obviously high-energy contact sports such as rugby and football (soccer) have the highest risk of injury,” he says. “This is because of the huge strains put through the body, not just in contact situations when we see dislocations and bone breakages, but when repeatedly cutting and changing direction at full speed.

  • This puts huge strain through the hips, knees and ankles, not to mention the main muscle groups such as the quadriceps and hamstrings.
  • We often see hamstring tears in these players.” Football players may also place a lot of strain on the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in the knee, and can develop low abdominal muscle injuries such as the ‘sportsman’s hernia’ (athletic pubalgia).

Squash and tennis players may face problems associated with twisting, along with elbow and wrist problems, while golfers often deal with lower-back issues. “However, one of the main culprits to bring patients to my office is long-distance running,” says Stafford.

What sport are head injuries most common?

Acute Subdural Hematoma – The majority of ASDHs due to sport-related head injuries are simple ASDHs without cerebral contusion and typically occur during contact sports. The patient sustains a major blow to the occipital region of the head when thrown to the ground. Rotational acceleration injury and damage to the bridging vein with the neck as a pivot point during judo. When the head strikes the mat, rotational acceleration is increased in brain (arrows), putting tensile strain between the bridging vein and dura mater, leading to rupture. A 30-year-old man was admitted to the hospital with mild headache and amnesia. He had been thrown by a judo competitor and received a blow to the back of the head 4 hours before presentation. Computed tomography (A) and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance imaging scans (B) on admission revealed a thin subdural hematoma in the interhemispheric fissure (arrows).

  1. Severe head injuries are prevalent in contact sports such as American football, rugby, boxing, judo, ice hockey, skiing, and snowboarding.
  2. In the United States, severe head injuries in sports are most commonly associated with American football, and a reported 90% of cases are ASDHs.
  3. Furthermore, the number of cases is increasing annually.

In the United States, almost all patients with ASDH due to sport-related head injuries are senior high school students or younger.16) ASDH in Japanese sports is most commonly associated with judo, with novices and younger players at high risk ( Table 1 ), especially when they practice with other stronger and more advanced students.17)

What sport causes the least concussions?


Boys Sport Score
Tennis 1.018
Swimming 1.01
Cross Country 0.864
Track and Field 0.608
Baseball 0.084
Basketball -0.048
Soccer -0.09
Wrestling -0.834
Lacrosse -0.841
Football -1.772


Girls Sport Score Tennis 1.013 Cross Country 0.756 Swimming 0.736 Track and Field 0.678 Softball 0.064 Volleyball 0.047 Cheerleading -0.539 Lacrosse -0.604 Basketball -0.738 Soccer -1.415

Analysis: Boys and girls tennis emerged as the safest sports, with very few overall injuries, concussions, time loss due to injuries, surgeries, and catastrophic injuries. Not surprisingly, several contact sports (football, boys and girls lacrosse, wrestling) scored near the bottom.

  • Football’s overall safety score was by far the lowest among boys sports, a byproduct of finishing seventh or lower out of 10 sports in all of the categories.
  • Soccer had a significantly lower score than any other girls sport.
  • Worth noting: There was not a huge gap in final scores for the top four sports in each gender.

Tennis, swimming, cross country and track and field were all relatively close for boys and girls. The gap became larger at No.5 with baseball and softball. Girls basketball scored lower than boys basketball due in part to girls having higher overall injury and concussion rates and more surgeries.

What Olympic sport has the highest injury rate?

Research shows new Olympic sports had high rate of injuries in Tokyo

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Athletes competing in the newly introduced Olympic sports of BMX freestyle, karate and skateboarding suffered some of the highest rates of injuries at the Tokyo Games, new research showed Wednesday.The three new events were among the top five with the most injuries at the 2020 Summer Olympics, which was held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Boxing and BMX racing had the highest rates, with 27% of competitors getting injured, according to a study carried out by researchers from the International Olympic Committee.

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software. Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites. If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see, We humbly apologize for the inconvenience. : Research shows new Olympic sports had high rate of injuries in Tokyo

What is the most strenuous sport in the world?

We sized them up. We measured them, top to bottom. We’ve done our own Tale of the Tape, and we’ve come to a surprising conclusion. Pound for pound, the toughest sport in the world is, Boxing. The Sweet Science. That’s the sport that demands the most from the athletes who compete in it.

Vote: What’s the toughest sport of all? Debate sports’ degree of difficulty with Page 2’s writers and experts in The Show Think boxing’s not tough? Go toe-to-toe with former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman in the SportsNation chat room.

But don’t take our word for it. Take the word of our panel of experts, a group made up of sports scientists from the United States Olympic Committee, of academicians who study the science of muscles and movement, of a star two-sport athlete, and of journalists who spend their professional lives watching athletes succeed and fail.

  1. They’re the ones who told us that boxing is the most demanding sport – and that fishing is the least demanding sport.
  2. We identified 10 categories, or skills, that go into athleticism, and then asked our eight panelists to assign a number from 1 to 10 to the demands each sport makes of each of those 10 skills.

By totalling and averaging their responses, we arrived at a degree-of-difficulty number for each sport on a 1 to 100 scale. That number places the difficulty of performing each sport in context with the other sports we rated. On the grid below, click on each sortable category to find out how our 60 sports rank in each skill.

Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings
Boxing 8.63 8.13 8.63 6.38 6.25 4.38 8.88 8.50 7.00 5.63 72.375 1
Ice Hockey 7.25 7.13 7.88 7.75 7.63 4.88 6.00 8.25 7.50 7.50 71.750 2
Football 5.38 8.63 8.13 7.13 6.38 4.38 7.25 8.50 5.50 7.13 68.375 3
Basketball 7.38 6.25 6.50 7.25 8.13 5.63 4.13 7.75 7.50 7.38 67.875 4
Wrestling 6.63 8.38 7.13 5.13 6.38 7.50 5.00 6.75 4.25 6.38 63.500 5
Martial Arts 5.00 5.88 7.75 6.38 6.00 7.00 6.63 5.88 6.00 6.88 63.375 6
Tennis 7.25 5.13 7.13 6.75 7.75 5.63 3.00 5.00 8.38 6.75 62.750 7
Gymnastics 5.38 6.13 6.63 5.00 6.38 10.00 7.50 6.88 4.50 4.13 62.500 8
Baseball/Softball 4.63 5.75 7.63 6.50 6.75 4.75 5.13 5.63 9.25 6.25 62.250 9
Soccer 7.75 4.50 5.13 7.25 8.25 4.75 3.63 6.25 6.50 7.50 61.500 10
Skiing: Alpine 5.13 5.25 6.00 7.38 6.13 5.63 8.38 6.00 5.13 5.63 60.625 11
Water Polo 7.88 6.63 6.88 5.38 6.38 5.00 4.25 6.38 6.25 5.63 60.625 11
Rugby 6.75 7.00 6.38 5.88 6.00 4.13 6.50 7.88 4.38 5.63 60.500 13
Lacrosse 6.63 5.13 5.75 7.00 6.63 4.75 4.38 6.13 7.13 6.88 60.375 14
Rodeo: Steer Wrestling 4.00 7.00 7.88 3.88 4.88 5.00 7.88 6.88 5.13 4.00 56.500 15
Track and Field: Pole Vault 3.38 6.88 7.25 6.13 5.38 7.00 6.63 4.25 5.25 3.75 55.875 16
Field Hockey 6.75 4.50 5.38 6.00 5.75 4.63 3.75 5.00 6.63 6.50 54.875 17
Speed Skating 7.63 7.25 7.38 8.88 4.00 4.25 4.50 4.63 2.88 3.50 54.875 17
Figure Skating 6.38 5.25 6.63 5.13 6.88 8.25 4.88 4.00 3.13 4.25 54.750 19
Cycling: Distance 9.63 6.38 6.25 5.13 3.75 2.63 5.88 6.88 3.00 4.88 54.375 20
Volleyball 5.13 4.88 6.63 5.00 7.00 5.13 2.88 4.63 7.25 5.88 54.375 20
Racquetball/Squash 6.13 3.75 5.00 5.50 7.25 5.88 2.38 2.88 8.38 6.50 53.625 22
Surfing 4.63 5.00 4.13 4.25 6.63 5.50 8.25 5.50 4.38 4.88 53.125 23
Fencing 4.63 3.75 4.25 5.13 6.13 5.63 4.88 4.25 7.25 6.88 52.750 24
Skiing: Freestyle 4.13 5.13 4.88 5.13 6.63 6.88 6.63 5.13 4.13 3.88 52.500 25
Team Handball 4.88 3.88 5.38 5.50 6.00 4.50 3.00 3.88 7.88 5.88 50.750 26
Cycling: Sprints 4.25 6.13 7.88 7.50 4.00 2.88 4.75 4.50 3.63 4.50 50.000 27
Bobsledding/Luge 3.50 5.50 6.50 6.75 4.13 3.25 7.75 3.50 4.13 4.25 49.250 28
Ski Jumping 3.50 4.50 5.75 4.63 4.00 5.00 9.00 4.63 4.38 3.50 48.875 29
Badminton 5.25 3.25 4.00 5.63 7.38 5.25 1.25 2.63 7.25 6.13 48.000 30
Skiing: Nordic 9.00 5.75 4.38 5.13 4.00 4.00 2.75 5.50 3.63 3.88 48.000 30
Auto Racing 5.88 3.50 2.63 1.63 2.75 1.75 9.88 4.38 8.00 7.50 47.875 32
Track and Field: High Jump 3.00 6.00 7.00 6.13 5.63 6.63 3.50 3.50 3.50 2.88 47.750 33
Track and Field: Long, Triple jumps 4.00 5.63 7.13 6.75 5.00 5.75 2.75 3.25 4.00 3.13 47.375 34
Diving 2.88 5.13 4.63 3.00 3.50 8.50 8.38 5.00 3.00 3.00 47.000 35
Swimming (all strokes): Distance 9.25 5.25 4.63 5.50 3.63 5.50 2.63 4.63 2.88 3.00 46.875 36
Skateboarding 4.13 3.75 3.75 4.13 6.13 5.13 6.50 5.25 4.88 3.13 46.750 37
Track and Field: Sprints 3.50 5.13 7.25 9.88 4.63 5.13 2.00 4.13 2.63 2.38 46.625 38
Rowing 8.13 7.75 7.13 4.00 2.50 4.00 1.75 4.38 2.88 3.63 46.125 39
Rodeo: Calf Roping 3.13 5.38 5.00 4.25 5.63 3.88 4.88 3.75 6.38 3.75 46.000 40
Track and Field: Distance 9.63 5.25 3.75 6.00 3.25 4.38 2.00 5.75 1.88 4.13 46.000 40
Rodeo: Bull/Bareback/Bronc Riding 3.25 5.38 4.00 1.75 3.63 4.25 9.50 7.38 3.63 3.13 45.875 42
Track and Field: Middle Distance 6.00 5.13 5.13 7.75 4.00 4.88 2.00 4.75 2.13 3.75 45.500 43
Weight-Lifting 4.13 9.25 9.75 2.63 2.50 3.38 4.00 4.75 2.25 2.38 45.000 44
Swimming (all strokes): Sprints 4.13 5.25 6.25 7.88 3.63 5.50 2.50 3.25 2.75 3.00 44.125 45
Water Skiing 4.63 5.00 4.50 3.00 4.25 4.75 5.88 4.63 4.13 3.25 44.000 46
Table Tennis 3.50 2.50 4.63 4.13 5.88 4.25 1.38 1.88 8.88 6.00 43.000 47
Track and Field: Weights 3.25 7.88 9.13 3.00 3.13 3.00 2.25 3.63 4.00 2.88 42.125 48
Canoe/Kayak 6.75 5.25 5.63 3.50 2.75 3.88 3.63 3.25 3.13 4.25 42.000 49
Horse Racing 4.00 3.88 2.88 1.38 2.88 3.75 8.00 4.50 3.88 6.50 41.625 50
Golf 3.25 3.88 6.13 1.63 1.75 4.00 2.50 2.38 6.00 6.38 37.875 51
Cheerleading 3.63 3.63 3.38 2.25 4.13 7.50 3.63 3.38 2.50 2.25 36.250 52
Roller Skating 4.75 3.38 4.00 5.13 4.00 3.50 2.63 3.38 2.88 2.63 36.250 52
Equestrian 3.38 3.25 1.75 1.25 2.50 2.88 6.00 2.75 2.88 5.13 31.750 54
Archery 2.88 4.50 3.13 1.13 1.63 2.63 2.75 2.13 6.63 3.25 30.625 55
Curling 2.25 2.63 2.50 1.50 2.25 2.63 1.75 1.50 4.88 5.63 27.500 56
Bowling 2.25 2.75 3.38 1.00 1.88 2.38 1.63 1.25 4.75 4.13 25.375 57
Shooting 2.25 2.50 1.38 0.88 1.13 1.75 2.38 1.88 6.75 4.00 24.875 58
Billiards 1.00 1.00 1.75 0.75 1.00 2.63 1.63 0.75 5.25 5.75 21.500 59
Fishing 1.38 1.63 1.25 0.63 1.50 1.13 0.88 0.88 2.38 2.88 14.500 60


Key ENDURANCE: The ability to continue to perform a skill or action for long periods of time. Example: Lance Armstrong STRENGTH: The ability to produce force. Example: NFL linebackers. POWER: The ability to produce strength in the shortest possible time. Example: Barry Bonds. SPEED: The ability to move quickly. Example: Marion Jones, Maurice Green. AGILITY: The ability to change direction quickly. Example: Derek Jeter, Mia Hamm. FLEXIBILITY: The ability to stretch the joints across a large range of motion. Example: Gymnasts, divers. NERVE: The ability to overcome fear. Example: High-board divers, race-car drivers, ski jumpers. DURABILITY: The ability to withstand physical punishment over a long period of time. Example: NBA/NHL players. HAND-EYE COORDINATION: The ability to react quickly to sensory perception. Example: A hitter reacting to a breaking pitch; a drag racer timing acceleration to the green light. ANALYTIC APTITUDE: The ability to evaluate and react appropriately to strategic situations. Example: Joe Montana reading a defense; basketball point guard on a fast break.