Highest Injury Sports men playing american football

Anyone who follows sports or participates is aware of one fact:

There is always a risk of injury. Some sports are safer than others, but physical activity can result in small and significant injuries, especially in contact sports.

Athletes lucky enough can have a long career, free of major injuries that keep them on the bench for long stretches. But, some unfortunate sports players suffer debilitating injuries, often early in their career, and never fully recover.

In today’s post, we’d like to go over four sports that carry a significant injury risk and how they compare to traditional weight training.

The 4 Sports That Cause The Most Injuries

  1. Basketball

Despite being a sport with limited contact, basketball still presents dangers for athletes. According to data from the NBA in the USA, lower body injuries were the most common. The most common were lateral ankle sprains, patellofemoral inflammation, lumbar strains, and hamstring strains.

One likely reason is that basketball is a highly dynamic sport that involves rapid acceleration, deceleration, jumping, change of direction, and contact with other players.

 man playing basketball slam dunk

  1. American Football

American football is perhaps less surprising than basketball because the sport is highly dynamic and involves a lot of physical contact. According to one study, there are an estimated 1.2 million annual injuries in the US. Among them, the most common injuries are to the knees, with sprains and strains being the most common.


man playing American Football
  1. Soccer

Soccer, also known as football in Europe and other parts of the world, is another sport with high injury rates. The sport involves a lot of physical contact between players and involves rapid acceleration and deceleration, change in direction, and fighting for ball possession. Plus, given that players wear shoes with spikes, impact injuries occur in the blink of an eye.

According to one paper, injuries per 1,000 hours among competitive players range from 9.5 to 48.7.


men playing soccer tackling over the ball
  1. Hockey

Between the high-speed chasing, collisions, aggressive demeanor of many players, and the fact that it all happens on ice, hokey is among the most dangerous sports on the planet.

Data suggests that injury rates are 18.69 per 1,000 athlete exposures in men and 12.10 in women.

women playing hockey on hockey field

How The Above Sports Compare to Lifting Weights

Many people associate weight training with injuries because of the heavy loads. But, you might be surprised to learn that resistance exercise is relatively safe, and the risk of injury is minor, especially when compared to dynamic activities like basketball and hockey.

man holding barbell weight lifting

According to a review from 2017, bodybuilding has the lowest injury risk, at just 0.24 to one injury per 1,000 hours.  Strongmen were at a higher risk, suffering from 4.5 to 6.1 injuries per 1,000 hours.

In a more recent paper, researchers observed over 5,300 men and women in a US Army Division. The authors found that only 4.5 percent of men and 0.6 percent of women suffered a weight training injury in one year.

While lifting might seem dangerous, many people forget that the practice is highly controlled. So long as you use weights you can manage, avoid pushing past your limits, and maintain proper technique, you can stay injury-free for many years.

May 20, 2022 — Daniel Felstein

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.