Who doesn’t love an epic adventure complete with an adrenaline rush? From touchdowns and scoring goals to scaling the tallest mountain in the world, some people have a real need to challenge themselves both physically and mentally to prove their endurance and ability. Others, simply love to compete.
Whatever the reason, some athletes are at a greater danger than others simply because of the nature of their sport. As reports of sports injuries grow to new heights, athletes of any skill level face the reality of life threatening injuries and death. But, even despite the statistics, their dedication to their sport outweighs any risk of harm.
Which sports, then, are the most dangerous for athletes and enthusiasts? We found 10 of the most dangerous sports in the world, some of which you’ve heard of and some of which will be new! So which sports made the list and why? Let’s get started, but remember, don’t try any of these at home!
#10 – Mountain Climbing
Whether you call it mountaineering or even Alpinism, mountain climbing is one of the most dangerous sports in the world. Avid mountain climbers don’t climb to finish first or in some sort of style; instead, they do it for the experience and the sense of accomplishment. From small mountains to the great Mount Everest and all of those in between, mountain climbers travel the world to find their next big adventure.
But, what exactly is so dangerous about mountain climbing? Climbers often face varying conditions from climbing far above sea level, sometimes almost straight up, to climbing through rough conditions like snow and ice. Because of this, dangers of injury and death run high as even experts attempt to meander their way around mountain death traps that include avalanches, earthquakes, ice storms and even flash floods. With the statistics not in our favor, it’s safe to say that we won’t be gearing up for Everest anytime soon!
#9 – BMX
We’ll take a bicycle built for two – or, maybe not! From city sidewalks to parks and neighborhoods, bicycles are as popular as ever with more and more people enjoying the sport for both transportation and recreation. But, what about hard core cycling? While your chance of death on an average bicycle is one in over 140,000, that definitely isn’t the case for cycling’s big and bad older brother, BMX.
Far from being the average cycling sport, the BMX world of extreme sports boasts a variety of outrageous tricks, flips and stunts that are meant to leave audiences amazed. Fully geared out in helmets and pads, riders take their bikes to the limit by attempting the impossible on ramps and obstacles that, at times, send them soaring high into the air. Definitely not a sport for the faint of heart, BMX riders are twice (yes, twice!) as more likely to wipe out and suffer from serious injury or even death.
#8 – Hockey
Known as one of the biggest sports in the world, hockey has entertained countless fans for centuries thanks to its competitive nature gathering a growing cult following. From kids and adults, many novices, enthusiasts and even pros dream of taking the ice in the United States and Canada as part of the well renowned National Hockey League. But, with these dreams also comes a price.
Beyond the dangers of skating around on thin blades, hockey is an incredibly dangerous sport as teams fearlessly and furiously skate around a ring chasing a frozen puck made of vulcanized rubber. Sounds fun, right? Did we mention these players are on thin blades? With an incredible amount of gear added to the weight of a normal sized adult, hockey actually spells the perfect recipe for danger. In fact, more than 40 percent of traumatic brain injuries in sports are caused by ice hockey. No worries, though. There’s a spot open in figure skating, if you’re interested!
#7 – Football/Rugby
If hockey is the king of ice, then football is the king of green – grass and turf, that is! Considered the most popular sport in the United States today, football might not hold onto its title for very long as parents discourage their children from playing the sport. With high school football guilty for nearly half of all reported concussions, not to mention other injuries like ACL tears and separated shoulders, we can’t blame parents for wanting to keep their young athletes safe.
Why exactly, though, is football so dangerous? The purpose of the game itself is for the defense to block the offense from getting to their end of the turf. This means that they’ll do anything necessary to stop their opponents from scoring. Following the same pattern as football, rugby brings its own set of rules and even its dangers, especially since rugby players don’t wear helmets or padding. And we thought mountain climbing was dangerous!
#6 – Horseback Riding
When someone says “horseback riding”, what comes to mind? Do you imagine a nice leisurely stroll on a horse? Do you imagine the dressage event at the Olympics? While many complain that horseback riding is boring, these people obviously haven’t ridden a horse. What other sport involves attempting to control a massive animal with a mind of its own?
Imagine this for a second: horseback riders trust their horses, who weigh more than a half a ton, with their life despite the fact that the horse can buck at a moment’s notice and send them soaring to the ground. With nearly 7 million people in the United States who ride horses, the injury statistics are staggering as nearly 80,000 are admitted to the emergency room each year with over 100 confirmed deaths as a result of head and other life threatening injuries. Mr. Ed seems a little more intimidating now, doesn’t he?
#5 – Hoi Phet
Have you ever heard of Hoi Phet? It’s alright if you haven’t since not many people have! Hoi Phet is actually a sport in Vietnam that involves a large group of people getting together each year to literally beat the snot out of one another. Ok, so this sport might need just a little more explaining.
Hoi Phet is an annual tradition about Song Quan, a princess who had a temple built in her honor. At the festival, a ball is placed in the center while thousands of people grab their sticks (much like field hockey) to fight for the ball in a tradition meant to bring good luck for the next year. So, what makes this so dangerous? Unlike hockey, Hoi Phet has absolutely no rules, which means you can easily knock someone in the head with a stick simply because it’s part of the festival.
#4 – Boxing
Hit ‘em with a one-two punch! Dating back nearly 3,000 years, boxing is one of the oldest sports in the world. Once recognized as a brutal one-on-one sport to determine the tougher man, boxing has since transformed into a spectacle of showmanship and style. Today, big bucks equal big punches as two of the highest paid athletes of 2014 weren’t football or even basketball stars; they were boxers.
With the goal to knock an opponent cold by throwing powerful punches, it’s no surprise that boxers get paid big bucks to put their bodies and lives on the line. Statistics show that these injuries mount incredibly fast as more than 90 percent of boxers have suffered from brain injuries with over 2,200 boxers dying in the ring. If that doesn’t scare you enough, then consider this: the bigger the boxer, the higher the weight class and the greater the danger.
#3 – Street Luge
Who would ever want to fly down a huge hill on their backs with little to no visibility in front of them? Welcome to the life of a street luger. Considered a fairly simple sport, street lugers get their start by lying on their back along a skateboard type plank that has wheels. Rolling down a steep road, the luger gains momentum and uses their body to steer around corners and blind spots (as if it wasn’t dangerous enough!).
With speeds easily reaching up to 100 miles per hour, pads and helmets don’t really help much when there’s body-street contact. From brain injuries and broken bones to blunt trauma, lugers have seen and suffered it all. Thankfully, the sport’s popularity has declined since the 1990s only to be replaced by more extreme sports like BMX and BASE Jumping!
#2 – BASE Jumping
Sure, it’s crazy enough to speed down a hill with your body on a skateboard but how would you feel about jumping off of a tall building? That’s exactly what BASE jumping is. BASE actually stands for Building, Antenna, Span and Earth and is very similar to skydiving but far more dangerous. With little room for error, BASE jumpers around the world have faced death all for the sake of a quick adrenaline rush.
So, exactly how common is it to die in BASE jumping? Studies actually show that jumpers have a one in 60 chance of death during the jump, which makes it extremely close to being considered as attempted suicide. Let that sink in for a moment! If jumping out of an airplane isn’t enough, then BASE jumping just might be for you but we hope you’ll at least try skydiving first as at least you’ll have a better chance of survival.
#1 – Bull Running
Have you ever had a nightmare that you were being chased? If you were being chased by a bull then it might not have been a nightmare after all! Thousands of people gather in Pamplona, Spain for the annual running of the bulls. As if the nightmare wasn’t enough, these people run ahead of a group of angry bulls with the hopes of survival. What exactly are these people thinking?
The bulls are not only bred to be angry, they also have long, sharp horns that easily slice and dice through bodies that get in their way. Sounds like an awesome time in Spain, right? As people run through the streets getting trampled and shanked by bulls, nearby hospitals prepare for nearly 100 recorded injuries each year. What’s even crazier is the fact that the running of the bulls is considered a joyful celebration! There must be liquor involved!