Are cycling and football the most dangerous sports for children?

Making sure that kids stay physically active is important. The habits and hobbies they pick up during their youth can stick with them for the rest of their life, and leading an active lifestyle is critical in preventing all manner of health concerns. Youth sports in particular is a great way to not only ensure your child’s physical health, but also build character, social-emotional skills, and strong friendships.

Despite its benefits, however, there are plenty of concerns to have about youth sports. Sports accidents are a leading cause of children’s emergency room visits. It’s common for kids to get broken bones, concussions, and muscle tears from playing sports. Contact sports, in particular, are especially dangerous, and can easily seriously injure kids and send them to the hospital.


Which sports are the most dangerous?

The risk your child is put in when they’re playing sports depending hugely on the sport they choose. For children between the ages of 5 and 14, the single most dangerous sport is football. Annually, more than 215,000 children are seen in the emergency room for football-related injuries. More and more, research has shown that despite full protective gear, the repeat injuries sustained when playing football regularly are catastrophic for the brain. Repeated concussions are common in football, and can cause serious lifelong medical problems when left untreated.

After football, the second most dangerous sport for children is actually bicycling. More than 200,000 children are seen in emergency rooms annually for bicycling-related injuries. Bicycling is especially dangerous because of its proximity to the street, moving cars, and other hazards. Despite the fact that most bikers wear a helmet, it’s still extremely hazardous for kids riding around.

Other significantly dangerous sports include cheerleading, which leads to a very significant number of injuries and concussions. In fact, two-thirds of women’s catastrophic injuries are sustained in cheerleading alone. It’s the most dangerous sport for young women to participate in. Cheerleading involves a lot of dangerous flips and jumps, and cheerleaders generally wear absolutely no protective gear. A small miscalculation on the part of one person on the team can lead to someone getting dropped or colliding with another cheerleader, causing serious injury.

Which sports are the safest?

While there are many sports that put your child in harm’s way, there are some sports that are considerably safer for your child to participate in that still can provide them with exercise and recreation.

Despite many parents having serious concerns about having their child participate in swimming during school, it’s actually one of the safer recreational sports for them to participate in. That’s because swimming is always very closely monitored by a lifeguard or coach, making kids much safer than they would be in other sports. Because swimming isn’t a contact sport, there is little risk of injury. The water’s resistance provides lots of protection to a swimmer’s muscles. The sport’s only danger, drowning, is well safeguarded against by existing protections.

Another very safe sport for kids to participate in is golf. Golf is largely an individual sport and is played at a pretty gentle pace. Of course, there’s always a small amount of risk for injury if played with improper form, but the sport’s clubs actually pose little risk to others because the golfer is always well away from other participants. Because of this, golf injuries are very rare and any catastrophic injuries from the sport are basically unheard of.

Tennis is another sport known for its low rate of concussions and serious injuries. While accidentally hitting each other with a racket is pretty common, such accidents rarely result in any kind of serious injury. Head injuries, in particular, are especially rare with this sport, as most injuries that are sustained are simple ones that are caused by a failure to properly warm-up and stretch before playing.

Of course, a sense of balance is paramount for decision-making when deciding upon your child’s recreational activities. While it’s impossible to ever fully prevent injury, there are still ways to mitigate it. It’s unwise to completely restrict recreational sports for your child, as they provide a lot of wonderful benefits for them. Youth sports support healthy physical activity, social engagement, and character building. However, sports can also present a significant risk of injury. Fear not though, parents! There are plenty of opportunities for your child to play recreational sports that are both safe and fun.

Last Updated on September 19, 2021