13 Striking Sport Injury Statistics That You Should Know

Sports injuries are unforeseen setbacks that affect athletes and send ripples through the industry. The Premier League alone lost £45 million in a season due to low performance from injuries.

In 2021, 3.2 million individuals sought medical attention in ERs for sports-related injuries. Among these injuries, the most common activities associated with them were exercise, cycling, and basketball. 

This article will delve into how sports injuries badly affect athletes and the sports industry.

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Highlights of the Article

  • In 2021, there was a 58% increase in injuries among teenagers.
  • Overall, boys and men accounted for 71% of sports-related injuries regardless of age.
  • Sports-related concussions declined 64% between 2012 and 2021.
  • Sprains rank first as the most common sports-related injuries.
  • Emergency departments treated over 4.4 million injuries associated with basketball.
  • In 2020, there were 938 fatalities reported among pedal cyclists.
  • Around 80% of soccer-related injuries required medical attention at the emergency room.
  • A total of 107 injuries were documented from 427 boxing matches.
  • The injury rate for trampolines experienced a 50% increase from 2013 to 2017.
  • In 2018, bicycling was the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.

What is the Percentage of Getting Injured in Sports?

sports injury statistics

Over the last decade, there has been a significant decline of 47% in sports-related injuries. One factor in this drop is COVID-19, where people are forced to stay home due to restrictions.

Based on records, there has been an over 1 million difference between 2012 to 2021. Throughout these years, 2020 has had the fewest injuries of all the years, at 763,000.

To give a better understanding of these statistics, here’s the total number of sports-related injuries over the years:

YearNumber of injuries% change

Professional Athlete Injury Statistics

The world of professional sports is not without its risks, as athletes face the potential for significant injuries that can have lasting effects. 

The impact of these injuries on professional athletes can be severe, with a 33% lifetime risk of sustaining an injury that will result in a permanent disability. 

In this section, you will find out the frequency of injuries by specific year, sport or activity, age group, and sex.

1. Injuries among preteens and young teens rose by 58% in 2021.


From the start of the pandemic in 2019, a 56% decline in sports-related injuries among Americans ages 10-19 happened, most likely linked to COVID protocols to stay at home.

The limited opportunities for social interaction and organized sports during the pandemic have led to a surge of 58% in informal and unstructured play among preteens and young teens.

Below are the total number of sports-related injuries among Americans ages 10 to 19 from 2012-2021:

YearNumber of injuries% change

2. Boys and men accounted for 71% of sports-related injuries regardless of age.


In 2021, boys outnumbered girls in high school sports. Approximately 4.4 million boys engaged in high school sports in the US, surpassing the girls who participated, which stood at 3.2 million.

Boys had a higher participation rate in basketball, with over 521,000 compared to 370,000 female players. This difference highlights why men experience more sports-related injuries.

The sports market size of males vs. females also tells a disparity, with stats showing that fans consume more men’s sports than women’s sports content.

3. Sports-related concussions have fallen by 64% from 2012 to 2021


Sports-related injuries pose a significant concern among athletes, coaches, and healthcare professionals. Concussions, a common and potentially serious injury, have substantially decreased.

From 2012 to 2021, sports-related concussions experienced a remarkable decline, plummeting from nearly 94,700 cases in 2012 to approximately 57,600 points in 2021. 

See how the numbers have dropped over the years in sports-related concussions.

YearNational estimate% change

4. Sprain is the most common sports-related injury in the US, accounting for over 341,000 cases.


More than 1.1 million sports-related injuries happened in the US in 2021; sprains and fractures are the most common sports injuries out of these numbers.

Factors contributing to these injuries include dynamic movement, contact, falls, overuse, and insufficient protection. 

While a considerable portion of injuries fell into an unspecified “other” category (17%), it is crucial to acknowledge the diverse range of injuries:

  1. Sprain (31%)
  2. Fracture (17%)
  3. Abrasions and bruises (13%)
  4. Deep cuts or skin tears (7%)
  5. Dislocations (3%)

Take note that just 2% of sports-related injuries necessitated hospital admission.

Statistics on Athlete Injury by Sports

Sports Medicine has experienced an increased demand in recent years due to the growing number of sports-related injuries and the rising participation in sports and fitness activities. 

The global market for sports medicine was valued at $5.08 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach an 8.2% CAGR from 2023 to 2030.

Listed below are the recorded sports-injury statistics among athletes. Explore how these injuries influence the growth of global sports medicine:

5. More than 4.4 million injuries treated at emergency departments occurred while playing basketball.


Participating in sports provides numerous physical and mental benefits but also comes with the risk of injuries. Among various sports, basketball ranked 1st with the highest rates of injuries.

From 2012 to 2021, more than 4.4 million injuries were treated at emergency departments, with basketball accounting for over a quarter (26%) of all sports-related injuries.

SportNumber of injuries% of total injuries
Cheerleading, Gymnastics, and Wrestling2,300,35514%
Lacrosse, Rugby, and miscellaneous ball games730,4274%
Hockey (all kinds)430,5783%
Track and field275,0972%
Racquet sports255,2432%

6. A total of 938 pedal cyclists were killed in 2020.

(Insurance Information Institute) 

The unfortunate occurrence of federal cyclist fatalities in 2020 highlights a concerning issue that demands immediate attention. 

The reasons behind the fatalities are complex; alcohol played a role in 34% of all fatal crashes involving motor vehicle drivers or cyclists in 2020.

Additionally, 79% of fatal cyclist crashes occurred in urban areas during the same year.

In this table, you will know how motor vehicle and pedal cyclists have taken lives over the years:

YearTotal FatalitiesPedal cyclistPercent of total fatalities

7. Nearly 80% of soccer injuries resulted in emergency room encounters.

(True Veta)

Soccer is often referred to as the world’s most popular sport. Approximately 150 million individuals in the US are actively involved in soccer, with over 18,000 recorded soccer-related injuries.

The intense competition and high-physicality nature of soccer put players at risk of various injuries. Around 67.8% of soccer injuries occur in males, with ages 14-18 at 31.7%.

Most soccer-related injuries requiring ER admissions involve the ankle or knee, particularly among individuals aged 15-19, with approximately 40% of ER visits.

8. Boxing has a higher risk of injuries, with 107 injuries recorded from 427 boxing fights.


Boxing is a combat sport with a higher risk of injuries than others. The head, neck, and face were the most frequently affected body regions, accounting for 89% of the reported injuries.

The nature of boxing matches significantly increases the likelihood of injuries. A study states that the injury rate of boxers is 250.6 injuries per 1,000 fight participants.

9. Trampoline’s 50% increase in injury rate from 2013-2017.


The popularity of trampolines as a recreational activity has grown significantly. However, along with the increased popularity, trampoline-related injuries have been a concerning trend.

During 2013-2017, the annual number of injuries went from 83,665 to 145,207, making trampolines the fastest-growing injury rate.

Head Injury Statistics by Sports

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) pose a significant health concern in the US. Each year, there’s around 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions related to sports and recreational activities.

During 2001-2005, children and adolescents aged 5 to 18 had 2.4 million visits to emergency departments for sports-related injuries, with about 6% (135,000 cases) involving concussions.

Listed below are some of the notable recorded head injuries in history:

10. Bicycling ranks 1st with the most traumatic brain injuries in 2018.


In 2018, hospital emergency rooms in the United States attended to approximately 454,407 head injuries related to sports activities. 

This marked a significant decrease of nearly 32,875 injuries compared to the previous year.

This section explores the categories that accounted for the highest estimated number of head injuries treated in US hospital emergency rooms during that year.

Sports ActivityNumber of Head Injuries Treated
Baseball and Softball24,516
Powered Recreational Vehicles30,222
Exercise & Equipment37,045
Horseback Riding6,141
Playground Equipment38,915

11. In 2021, 4 traumatic injury fatalities occurred among football players.


In 2021, approximately 4,200,000 participants played football. Tragically, four reported fatalities within this population were linked to high school football, caused by traumatic brain injuries.

Three devastating incidents (75%) occurred during games, while one (25%) transpired during practice.

12. A total of 460 rugby players were hospitalized for concussions.


In 2020-2021, there were a total of 5,030 rugby injuries reported, with 4,300 injuries among males and 730 females. Among these injuries, fractures accounted for 53% of the cases.

Approximately 29% of the injuries affected this area, leading to hospitalization due to concussion. In total, 390 males and 73 females required medical attention for concussions.

This is the data for rugby-related injury by body parts:

Body PartRateCases
Head and Neck29%1,500
Arms and Shoulders21%1,000
Wrist and Hand17%830
Leg and Hip25%1,300
Ankle and Foot3%160

Final Thoughts

The sports industry is facing a worrying situation due to the increasing number of injuries every year. 

By prioritizing prevention, the industry can protect athletes, maintain their performance levels, and ensure the long-term viability of sports organizations.

Further research and initiatives are needed to address the specific challenges of different sports and ensure the well-being of athletes at all levels of play.


What sport has the highest injury rate?

Basketball consistently ranked as one of the sports with the highest rates of injuries. In 2021, approximately 260,000 basketball players sought medical treatment for various injuries.

How many injuries are there in sports each year?

Out of 30 million children and teens participating in organized sports in the US, there were 3.5 million sports-related injuries each year.

What is the most common injury in each sport?

Among sports-related injuries, strain is the most common.