The Most Dangerous Sports in the World

Horseracing has long been recognised as one of the most dangerous sports in the world, with both mount and rider susceptible to severe injury when things go wrong in a race. Every year dozens of jockeys die worldwide during races, with hundreds sustaining career ending injuries – usually as a result of reckless riding by inexperienced competitors.

In the United Kingdom, national hunt racing is arguably the most dangerous racing format for both horse and rider. In the past a number of races, including the Cheltenham Festival’s National Hunt Chase, have been severely downgraded in difficulty following horse and rider fatalities.

Sweeping improvements to racetrack safety and strict punishment for careless riding have seen the death toll in the sport decrease substantially. The question is, does horseracing still rank amongst the world’s most dangerous sports?

10. Association Football

Surprisingly football makes it into the top ten most dangerous sports in the world. Not only is there a relatively high incidence of sudden death on the pitch, but football players are susceptible to one of the most common serious sports injuries – traumatic brain injury. As one of the few sports in the world that brings the head into play rather than attempting to protect it, football players can easily suffers injuries that can kill when aggravated.

9. Street Luging

Racing down steep winding roads on a skateboard without brakes whilst lying on your back almost qualifies as a suicide technique, and represents the extreme sports in the most dangerous sports lists. More dangerous than B.A.S.E jumping, street luging often sees participants practicing their sport on roads carrying traffic. Terminal encounters with other vehicles are not unusual.

8. Solo yacht racing

The preferred sport for the rich and bored of life. Solo yacht racers specialize in navigating the world’s most dangerous stretches of water and putting themselves as far away from help as humanly possible. Favourite methods for exiting the mortal coil include giant waves, storms, sharks and the occasional pirate.

7. Motor racing

Motor racing ranks as expected. High profile deaths in motor racing have seen several measures put in place to make the sport safer, and with generally good effect. However supercross and superbike racing are so inherently risky that fatalities are both common and unavoidable.

6. Rugby

Whether it’s rugby union or rugby league you play, you’re well on your way to earning an early ticket to the afterlife when you run onto a rugby field. Spinal and head injuries are rife, and the game exacts a particularly heavy toll on those playing in the forward positions.

5. Gymnastics

Throwing yourself around at great height is an excellent way to generate severe injuries. Gymnastics earns its reputation as one of the most dangerous sports in the world due to the intensive training and small margin of error built into many gymnastic routines.

4. Bull Riding

Climbing onto the back of one ton of enraged bull is the last thing many rodeo contestants ever do. Being thrown several feet through the air is mandatory, however it is the subsequent confrontation with one ton of rampaging bull that tends to be fatal.

3. Horseracing

Our feature sport comes in at number three, with the sheer volume of horse racing that takes place around the world each year pushing it ahead of bull riding.

2. Cheerleading

Now a competitive sport in the United States and an increasingly dangerous and even fatal one. Would you trust ten blondes to throw you 20 feet into the air and then catch you with pinpoint accuracy? Injuries are particularly severe in the heavyweight divisions.

1. Cave Diving

Diving is not a safe activity at the best of times. It therefore comes as no surprise that diving at depth, in ice cold water whilst in unexplored subterranean caverns is the most dangerous sport in the world. Although cave divers tend to be well trained, the fact remains that anything can go wrong – and it often does.

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