Most sports carry some type of risk, but very few are as alarmingly dangerous and potentially life-threatening as the ones that made our list. If you want the adrenaline rush of a lifetime, go ahead and try to become good at one of these sports. They will surely deliver that, but the cost might be too great for anyone who hasn’t taken being a dare devil to the level of a true boss.
We salute anyone willing to participate in these athletic activities (if for no reason but to leave us in awe when we watch them perform), but we can’t recommend them as safe by any stretch of the imagination. While it’s difficult to rate all sports based on the danger factor (i.e. emergency room statistics are inaccurate at best), we did our best to select the most treacherous ones we could find.
We had a hard time deciding whether we should start this list with football or hockey. Football features more collisions – often between very large individuals – each play than any other sport we could think of. Many football players, especially at the pro level, carry injuries with them due to the sport for the rest of their lives. Brain damage is also often a result of repeated blows to the head. (Oh really?!) The use of shoulder pads and helmets gives you an exhilarating feeling of invincibility, unfortunately you aren’t.
#9: Heli Skiing or Ski Touring/Mountaineering
In our opinion, these two sports are almost equal when you’re looking at the danger factor. Ski touring/mountaineering just adds the problem of climbing to the top of the mountain before you ski down it.
Heli skiing utilizes a helicopter to get you to places with desirable skiing conditions (if you like danger and the excitement derived from it), which cannot be accessed with a ski lift.
The safety of skiing in uncharted territory is questionable at best, but heli skiing enthusiasts are extremely willing to take the risks involved for powder snow and steep natural slopes (among other benefits).
Ski touring might be more dangerous than heli skiing, just because you won’t have a helicopter to take you to a hospital, if you run into a tree full speed and snap every bone in your body. However, ski touring takes more skill to get to the top of the mountain, so less experienced skiers are probably more likely to go for heli skiing (thus making it overall more dangerous).
#8: Big Wave Surfing
The bigger the waves, the more exciting and also potentially life threatening. A quick list of some common dangers that surfers may or may not encounter: Marine life (i.e. sharks, jellyfish and snakes), drowning due to various reasons, waves that can whip you so hard you break bones or even die, riptides that pull you out to sea, and other surfboards slicing you to pieces.
#7: Street Luging
This one involves going down a steep hill on what is essentially a glorified skateboard, sometimes at speeds of up to almost 100mph! We will let you come up with your own conclusions about what happens, if you fall off a tiny board going that fast. Road rash of world peace.
You might laugh at first, if you’ve never cheerleaded or watched them hurl human bodies through the air like ragdolls. Fun fact: Catching the girls actually results in the most injuries, not dropping bodies. Maybe they should be letting girls drop more often? (Not serious.) Cheerleading is easily the most dangerous sport for young females to perform.
A quick fact (this one is actually pretty good, because it’s based on a percentage): Over 50% of catastrophic injuries to young female athletes are the result of cheerleading. Catastrophic meaning that it resulted in a permanent disability or medical condition.
This is why many people argue cheerleading should be more accepted as a sport for the safety of young athletes competing in it. More regulation and more qualified coaches could help prevent at least some of the horrific injuries caused by cheerleading.
#5: Whitewater Kayaking and Rafting
There are 6 grades of difficulty in whitewater rafting. Grade 6 (almost impossible to survive) is largely considered to be a suicidal venture, due to the rapids being so violent that almost all rafting equipment is not suited for them.
With that being said, not all whitewater rafting is extremely dangerous, provided you choose the appropriate grade for your experience level. The dangers of drowning (whitewater tends to pull you under), hypothermia, overexertion (sometimes resulting in death) and bashing into rocks are usually present to some degree when you’re whitewater kayaking or rafting.
#4: Wingsuit BASE Jumping
The sport of BASE jumping involves jumping off a fixed object and utilizing a parachute to break your fall. Since 1981, 228 people have died BASE jumping. The use of a wingsuit arguably makes BASE jumping even more dangerous. It adds surface area to the human body and essentially allows you to fly. If you can’t figure out why this sport is extremely dangerous, all hope is lost!
#3: Cave Diving
Why is it incredibly dangerous and might kill you? It’s just diving, right? No. If you’re cave diving and run into some type of emergency, during which you would simply swim to the surface vertically while diving ‘normally’, you have to backtrack out of the cave. Chances are you won’t make it out alive.
Add little to no visibility in a lot of instances and potentially violent water currents to the list of risks… and you might be wondering why people do this at all. Cave divers generally argue that it’s safe because it’s such an advanced form of diving that the mistakes of beginners don’t really factor into it. The equipment of an advanced diver and their experience will be far superior to that of a novice, making cave diving safer (yet still deadly if you mess up even a little bit).
#2: Any Sport Involving a Bull
This one isn’t very surprising. The three sports that come to mind are bull riding, bull fighting and bull running. Bull running is actually the most dangerous, because the people involved usually aren’t trained to deal with the animals and simply get run over.
Obviously a certain degree of expertise is required to handle a massive, raging beast such as a bull, but the only requirements to run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain are that you’re 18 years old and not drunk. Good luck!
Choose one: Run with the bulls in Spain OR fight Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (a.k.a. ‘The Brahma Bull’)?!
#1: Motorcycle Racing
Any type of racing (i.e. F1, rally or NASCAR) can be incredibly dangerous and potentially deadly, but motorcycle racing adds two shocking risk factors. It’s far easier to tip a bike over and there is also no real cushioning to protect you, if you do crash. Good luck with your death goals of 2014 if you participate in any sort of motorcycle racing.
We hope you enjoyed this amazing list of ten extremely dangerous sports you probably shouldn’t participate in. To anyone brave enough to engage in these athletic activities: Good luck! (We’ve done some stupid shit ourselves.)