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7 of the Most Dangerous High School Sports

A list describing the most dangerous high school sports in America.

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Football

America's most popular sport is also one of the most dangerous for high school athletes. According to Business Insider, there has been 111 fatalities in high school football since 1982. This is the highest out of any high school sport by a large margin. Football also accounts for the highest amount of permanent disabilities since 1982 with 308. This doesn't come as much of a surprise, since it is the most played high school sport. As the health risks of football have become more prominent in recent years, parents are now hesitating when letting their children play. Even with rule changes and equipment upgrades focusing on making the game safer the risk of serious injury may start to drive young athletes to play other sports.

Wrestling

Although wrestling is not the most popular or action packed high school sport, it is one that can definitely be classified as dangerous. The injuries, infection, and wrestler’s ear that go along with the sport all have the potential to be problematic. First, the main goal for a wrestler is to slam their opponent onto the mat, or grapple with them on their knees or shoulders. All mats on the high school level are inadequately padded, causing major wear and tear on wrestler’s bodies. A major component that most wrestlers and coaches overlook is the importance of headgear. Although it is mandatory to wear during competition, it is almost never used in a practice setting. Because of this, wrestlers become more susceptible to concussions, and wrestler’s ear which is caused by bleeding in the ear due to opponent grappling. Wrestler’s ear, otherwise known as cauliflower ear, is a long term injury simply because of the way in which it causes wrestler’s ears to appear. Finally, the potential of infection for wrestlers is immense. Aside from the fact that the athletes are wearing minimal clothing, they are constantly being pressed up against each other and pressed up against a mat that is more likely than not to be unsanitary.

Baseball/Softball

This entry to the list may be a surprise for some people. Baseball and softball are not known for their physicality, but injury statistics for these sports are quite surprising. Since 1982, there has been eleven fatalities and eighteen permanent disabilities in high school baseball. Most of these can be attributed to players being hit by a pitch or having a collision while baserunning. Because of some injury scares that have happened to star MLB players such as David Wright and Aroldis Chapman, additional padding is now being introduced to both helmets and hats. There have also been rule adjustments where players are not allowed to slide directly into the opposing team in order to break up a double play. These changes hope to lower the amount of concussions that happen during a game. Other common injuries include arm and shoulder strain, which can lead to Tommy John surgery. Regardless, baseball is still one of the safer sports compared to others on our list.

Cheerleading

As the competition aspect of cheerleading has increased, the amount of injuries has skyrocketed. Since many states do not recognize cheerleading as a sport, the activity does not have very many regulations nor does it require proper safety measures.Cheerleading accounted for 65 percent of female’s catastrophic injuries in high school. Stunting is a major component of a cheerleading routine. It is also the most dangerous aspect and is responsible for ninety-six percent of closed head injuries caused from cheerleading. Between 1982 and 2008, 73 injuries that caused permanent paralysis and two deaths were reported. Steps are being made by many states to add safety measures to cheerleading in order to reduce injuries. New York declared cheerleading a sport in 2014. Even with stricter rules, the sport will always have dangerous aspects. Cheerleaders are known for routines that contain gymnastics and stunting that at times can be dangerous. Injuries can happen at any time, but with certain precautions they can be reduced.

Soccer

Soccer is a fast paced game where two teams use their feet to dribble and shoot the ball. In soccer the players are able to slide into another player's feet in order to take the ball away from the other team. Soccer has become more and more dangerous over the past 25 years. Soccer related injuries have gone up by as much as 78% in the past 25 years. The most common injury for soccer players have been concussions because of how fast the ball is being kicked or because the players are getting kicked in the head. Thirty-five percent of the injuries were sprains or strains. Fractures accounted for 23 percent of injuries and soft tissue injuries were 22 percent. Soccer is a growing sport in the United States, without more rules and regulations we could see the amount of injuries increase drastically.

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey requires an individual to balance on ice while chasing after a puck that is moving nearly 100 mph. The skill and concentration that this sport requires results in frequent injury. The most common injury is a contusion, or a severe bruise. This injury accounts for 70 percent of all injuries. 15 percent of hockey players are estimated to sustain a concussion this year alone. Depending on the position an individual plays, he or she may be at an increased risk for injury. Those who play forward are more than seven times more likely to get a concussion than a goalie. Shoulder injuries, such as fractures or dislocations of the collarbone, are one of the most common orthopedic injuries. Since most injuries result from a collision with another player, rules need to be strictly followed to prevent injury.

Track & Field

In track and field there are numerous events a person can partake in such as pole vaulting, hurdles and discus. These three events have been named the most dangerous events in track and field. Not only for the players but also for the spectators. Pole vaulters run at full speed while stabbing a 15 foot pole into the ground and thrust there entire body 13 feet into the air. Many people have landed on their head from 13 feet in the air. 60% of the people that land on the ground have either died or been paralyzed. Hurdling has accounted for a lot of sprains, breaks, and tears within the human body. The players must run at full speed while jumping over a 3-4 foot hurdle. Many underestimate how dangerous this event can be because just one slip up and the player could land on there face and hurt themselves. Although track and field doesn't seem like a very dangerous sport, it has accounted for 15% of sport related injuries in the past 10 years.

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