The Most Dangerous Sports in America

The Most Dangerous Sports in America

Many moms might worry about their kids getting hurt playing football, but a new study shows that playing basketball and riding bicycles sent more Americans to the emergency room in 2005.

More than half a million people suffered basketball-related injuries last year, compared to 485,000 hurt on bikes and 418,000 injured playing football.

Trampolines bounced 108,000 U.S. residents into the hospital. And believe it or not, some 47,000 people managed to get hurt playing golf.

"Athletes, youngsters and weekend warriors alike can wind up in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to these sports," said Pietro Tonino, director of the division of sports medicine at Loyola University Health System. "So before people run to the basketball court, they need to take steps to reduce their injury risk."

Tonino used data from the U.S. Consumer Produce Safety Commission on injuries treated in emergency rooms.

The Top 15:

  1. Basketball: 512,213
  2. Bicycling: 485,669
  3. Football: 418,260
  4. Soccer: 174,686
  5. Baseball: 155,898
  6. Skateboards: 112,544
  7. Trampolines: 108,029
  8. Softball: 106,884
  9. Swimming/Diving: 82,354
  10. Horseback riding: 73,576
  11. Weightlifting: 65,716
  12. Volleyball: 52,091
  13. Golf: 47,360
  14. Roller skating: 35,003
  15. Wrestling: 33,734

Knee injuries, especially to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), are some of the most common and serious, the new study found.

While ACL injuries can be treated with surgery and physical therapy, a way to prevent them is to build up the strength of your hamstrings. Tonino also recommends landing on the balls of your feet with knees bent and butt back, as if you were about to sit in a chair.

Bjorn Carey is the science information officer at Stanford University. He has written and edited for various news outlets, including Live Science's Life's Little Mysteries, and Popular Science. When it comes to reporting on and explaining wacky science and weird news, Bjorn is your guy. He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his beautiful son and wife.