If you move you risk injury. Injury through participation in sports and other physical activities range wildly from one activity to another. Some of the facts may surprise you as far as injury rates from various sports.
I have been wanting to write this post since I did some reasearch on running injuries. I was appalled at the injury rate in running. 65-80% of runners suffer an injury annualy. Let that sink in a little bit, the correlation is only 20-35% of runners make it through a year without getting hurt. This is from running. A supposedly natural activity that basically anyone can do. Improper mechanics are likely the cause of the vast majority of these injuries. Our high tech squishy shoes are generally the cause of the improper mechanics.
I have found many other references to the 65-80% running injury rate. Another way of looking at the statistic is that there are 10 injuries per 1,000 participant hours (note from below this is higher than alpine skiing). This is simply unacceptable.
Here is a list of injury rates in activities that are typical for adult fitness.
A variety of other sports are ranked below, with the number of injuries per 1000 hours of activity in parentheses (’Injuries in Recreational Adult Fitness Activities,’ The American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 21 (3), pp. 461-467, 1993).
1. Alpine skiing (8)
2. Rowing machine exercise (6)
3. Treadmill walking or jogging (6)
4. Tennis (5)
5. Dancing classes (5)
6. Resistance training with weight machines (4)
7. Resistance training with free weights (4)
8. Outdoor cycling (3.5)
9. Stationary cycle exercise (2)
10. Stair climbing (2)
11. Walking (2)
A ranking of injuries per 1,000 participant exposures for a variety of collegiate sports. The first column of numbers is injuries occurring in practice, the second is injuries occurring in competition. A few things to note. Gymnastics is a rare sport in that the injury rate in competition is not remarkably higher than that of practice, also the fact that the injury rates in elite competition for this sport are drastically lower than other competitive sports. This is the reverse for most sports and demonstrates the radical importance of a high caliber structured program for the sport.
Football 4.1 35.6
Wrestling 4.6 30.8
Taekwondo (M) no data 27.2
Taekwondo (W) no data 22.2
Gymnastics (W) 7.2 21.5
Soccer (M) 4.5 19.2
Soccer (W) 5.1 17.0
Gymnastics (M) 4.4 16.5
Lacrosse (M) 4.1 16.4
Ice Hockey 2.5 16.2
Basketball (M) 4.1 8.9
Basketball (W) 4.2 8.1
Field Hockey 3.8 8.4
Ultimate Frisbee (M) 3.5 7.0
Lacrosse (W) 3.4 6.3
Baseball 2.0 5.7
Ultimate Frisbee (W) 2.0 5.6
Volleyball (W) 4.6 5.3
Softball 3.4 5.1
Elite Gymnastics - Women’s no data 3.7
(Compiled from a variety of sources)
All this being said, injuries do occur. It is impossible to completely eliminate risk, but we can drastically reduce it with proper progressions, mechanics and sensible increases in loads/skill acquirement.