What Sport Has the Most Injuries?

Sports Medicine


Sports are a fun way to get in your exercise. But what about that injury risk?

No matter your age, playing sports is a fun way to exercise and make connections with others. But for all the benefits sports offer, they also increase your chance of injury. That doesn’t mean you or your child has to give up competing. Instead, knowing what sport has the most injuries and how to prevent those traumas from happening can keep you on the field.

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), sport-related traumas sent 3.6 million people to the ER in 2022. Most of those injuries were due to sporting events or injuries involving exercise equipment. In this article, we’ll focus on what sports have the most injuries, and what can be done to avoid them.

The top five sports with the most injuries

Every sport causes different types of traumas. In general, those sports involving a lot of contact between players and shifting directions tend to result in the most injuries. The joint most vulnerable to injury? The delicate knee, with its network of ligaments and tendons.

Let’s go down the list of sports with the most injuries:

Injury-Prone Sport: Basketball. Though not a contact sport, basketball caused 313,924 injuries in 2022, per the NSC, the most of all team sports. A high-speed sport, basketball calls for quick changes in direction and jumps, which strain the knee ligaments, leading to sprains and tears. Hand and wrist injuries are also common.

How to protect against injuries while playing: Wearing protective gear, such as knee and elbow pads, can reduce injury risk.

Injury-Prone Sport: Football. Not only is football a contact sport, but it also involves a lot of changing directions in seconds, which can result in sprains, broken bones, and concussions. The NSC estimates more than 265,000 football-related traumas occurred in 2020, number two behind basketball.

How to protect against injuries while playing: Wearing the proper protective equipment, warming up before a game, and learning the safest way to tackle can prevent injuries.

Injury-Prone Sport: Soccer. Soccer is an immensely popular sport for both children and adults. Yet soccer injuries totaled nearly 180,000 ER visits in 2020, according to the NSC. Sprained ankles, knee injuries such as ACL tears, and shin splints due to constant running account for most soccer-related traumas.

How to protect against injuries while playing: To prevent concussions, players must learn the proper technique for using their head when moving the ball.

Injury-Prone Sport: Baseball and Softball. Next up are baseball and softball injuries, which prompted 137,000 ER trips in 2020, per the NSC. Due to the repetitive action of throwing a baseball, MLB has witnessed a spate of elbow injuries in pitchers this year.

How to protect against injuries while playing: Wearing shin and elbow pads, installing detachable bases, and warming up before games can help reduce the injury risk.

Injury-Prone Sport: Hockey. Hockey and skating injuries led to 76,505 traumas in 2020, the NSC estimates. Head traumas including concussions and broken collarbones are common due to the sometimes violent nature of the sport, making it imperative to wear protective equipment. Falls on hard ice can also lead to injuries.

How to protect against injuries while playing: Players should avoid head-to-head contact during play.

While these sports have a heightened injury risk, you don’t have to give up the game you love. Learning the proper techniques and donning protective gear greatly diminishes the chance of serious trauma. And if you suspect an injury, rest and let it heal. If the pain persists, see a doctor for diagnosis and therapy. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you’ll be back on the playing field.

Healing after a sports injury

As a leading center for sports medicine, the physicians at All Sports Physical Therapy are familiar with a variety of sports injuries. We’ll diagnose your condition and prescribe a treatment to get you playing again as soon as possible. Contact us today for a consultation.

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