The ten most DANGEROUS sports in the world!
A sometimes tongue-in-cheek look at the risks sportsmen and women take to fulfil their lust for competitiveness. Some you will definitely agree with... but at least one is sure to bowl you over!
by Phil McCauley on 22 August 2008
10. RUGBY: Possibly the most brutal contact sport on the planet. These boys put NFL stars to shame by being just as vicious in their tackling but without any of the protection. Given that fact, it's hardly surprising that rugby has more injuries per player than any other participation sport. In fact, they're three times more likely to get injured than someone in martial arts. Torn muscles, concussion, broken bones - these boys don't stop unless they can't physically continue.
9. CAVE DIVING: Being a diver is bad enough, what with the risk of decompression, which can cause failure of the spinal cord, brain and lungs. But diving in caves takes things to a whole other level. At depths of 100 feet in a pitch-black cave it's incredibly easy to lose your bearings, have problems with your air supply - or even be eaten by some big, vicious creature. According to the Texas-based San Marcos Area Recovery Team, more than 500 people have died since 1960 while cave diving in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean alone.
8. CHEERLEADING: In the US alone, there were more than 20,000 reported injuries last year alone, making cheerleading the world's most injury-prone sport in the world for women. In fact, the girls on the sidelines are more at risk of hurting themselves than the guys on the football field. Broken legs and spinal injuries are not uncommon. Don't tell these hardcore girls that cheerleading isn't a sport - they'll eat you for breakfast.
7. MOTORCYCLING: The most dangerous motor race in the world is, without doubt, the Isle of Man TT event. In its 100-year history, this one race has seen more than 220 deaths. The race mainly involves trying not to die by falling off your bike and ploughing headfirst into a tree at ridiculously high speeds.
6. FISHING: The sedate pastime of angling has one of the highest mortality rates of any sport due to the number of people who drown every year. Rock fishing - which involves casting a line into the ocean from the shoreline - is also notoriously dangerous, with people often losing their lives when they are dragged under by huge unexpected waves. In Australia alone, 15 people died while rock fishing in 2001. Plus, which other sport's competitors routinely take part in what is, to all intents and purposes, mass murder? Fish have feelings too, you know...
5. ROCK CLIMBING: According to Accidents In North American Mountaineering, the year 2000 saw 24 deaths in the US due to rock climbing mishaps. As well as getting up to wherever it is you want to go, you've got to be able to get back down, which is what makes this such a dangerous sport - it's not too easy to get medical help when you're 1,000 feet up and there's nowhere to land a chopper. Bad weather can prove extremely hazardous, quickly causing frostbite or hypothermia. In the insurance world, rock climbing is classed as a Category 5 sport. The only things more dangerous are Category 6 sports, which include naked knife fighting and blind archery.
4. GOLF: It may be just below boxing and ice hockey in the brutality stakes, but golf is right up there in the death stakes. Some figures suggest more than 4,000 of us take our last breath on the fairway every year. It's also a killing field when it comes to bad weather, with five per cent of all lightning-related deaths taking place on the golf course.
3. HORSE RIDING: A recent survey on the number of fatalities per 100,000 participants in the US put riding a horse - including eventing, racing and show jumping - at the top of the list with a whopping 128. And that's without taking into account all the horses that perished too. Compare this number to the seemingly much more dangerous sport of boxing - which has just 1.3 deaths per 100,000 - and it puts into perspective quite how dangerous getting your leg over a horse can be.
2. BASE JUMPING: Dangerous for the simple fact that it's all or nothing - if your parachute opens you'll be fine, if it doesn't you're looking at certain death. A comprehensive study has revealed that since the first BASE jump around 30 years ago, 175 people have been killed. Anyone taking part in this sport is basically betting their life on whether a chute opens properly or not. Think I'll stick to lawn bowls, thank you very much!
1. LAWN BOWLS: Forget those UFC pussies, lawn bowls is for REAL men (and women!). Going off the number of deaths per player, it is the world's most dangerous sport, killing literally thousands worldwide every year. Its hardcore competitors will stop at nothing in pursuit of victory. If you're one of the lucky ones that escapes death, there are thousands more who end up with dislocated ankles, broken hips, torn knees or who simply keel over with a heart attack or a stroke due to the incredibly stressful nature of the game. Either that or it's down to most of the competitors being over 85 and lugging great big balls around.