Sports

Lethal Weapons: The Most Murderous Sports

Some sports are perceived to be (and actually are) dangerous in nature. Since this isn’t the time of the Holy Roman Empire or the Mayan civilization where people expected participants to be killed in the arena, we can expect the on field deaths to be a rarity today. Unfortunately, fatal tragedies happen in sport at a higher rate that we tend to think and today we will look at the nature of some of the most popular sports and analyse the data to find out which sport poses the biggest threat to a player’s life. Motorsports, cycling, bullfighting and extreme sports like free diving, ski jumping and swimming in open water will not be included in this discussion as we are going to focus on mainstream sports (and sports which don’t involve other machines or animals) which most people in the general public are well versed with. We are also going to discuss about these sports at a professional level since that level has proper rules and structures while playing. Otherwise, people can die playing frisbee in their backyard as well. Here are some of the popular sports in the world and their propensity towards murdering its participants.

#1. Baseball

Some sports are perceived to be (and actually are) dangerous in nature. Since this isn’t the time of the Holy Roman Empire or the Mayan civilization where people expected participants to be killed in the arena, we can expect the on field deaths to be a rarity today. Unfortunately, fatal tragedies happen in sport at a higher rate that we tend to think and today we will look at the nature of some of the most popular sports and analyse the data to find out which sport poses the biggest threat to a player’s life. Motorsports, cycling, bullfighting and extreme sports like free diving, ski jumping and swimming in open water will not be included in this discussion as we are going to focus on mainstream sports (and sports which don’t involve other machines or animals) which most people in the general public are well versed with. We are also going to discuss about these sports at a professional level since that level has proper rules and structures while playing. Otherwise, people can die playing frisbee in their backyard as well. Here are some of the popular sports in the world and their propensity towards murdering its participants.Baseball

Only one player has been killed by an injury sustained during a Major League Baseball game. That unfortunate player was Ray Chapman in 1920 who was hit on the head by a pitch and died 12 hours later. As a result, the spitball was banned and all baseball batters are now required to compulsorily wear helmets. Only one death the sport’s history definitely makes baseball safe to play.

#2. Ice Hockey

With bruising tackles, lots of fights, high speed pucks and razor sharp skates, one would expect Ice Hockey to produce a lot of on-rink deaths. However, in the history of the National Hockey League, only one player has died while playing. Bill Masterson of the Minnesota Northstars is the only fatality in the sport’s history when he died of severe head trauma after being hit by two players of the Oakland Seals. A mandatory helmet was soon introduced into the game and despite horrific on-rink injuries, Masterson still remains the only player to have died while playing.

#3. Basketball

As a sport dependent in finesse and skill, one would expect basketball to be devoid of on-court deaths, and one would be right. The most near fatal incident occurred when Kermit Washington punched Rudy Tomjanovich during a skirmish which caused some spinal fluid to leak into Tomjanovich’s mouth. However, he made a full recovery and became an All Star once again.

#4. American Football

For a sport which is a step beyond a contact sport (it’s called a ‘collision sport’), the number of on field fatalities in the National Football League  is surprisingly low. Only three players have died on the field, Howard Glen in 1960 (broken neck), Stone Johnson in 1963 (broken neck) and Chuck Hues in 1971 (cardiac arrest). While the long term effects of brain damage might be severe, on a strictly on-field basis, American Football isn’t very fatal.

#5. Marathon Running

This sport is ironically dangerous in the sense that the first ever participant of the sport died immediately after completion. As legends have it, Greek messenger Pheidippides ran non stop from Marathon to Athens to report a Greek victory over Persia, and then collapsed to his death after delivering the message in 490 B.C. Since 1984, there have been 46 fatalities in marathon running with the biggest causes being water intoxication, heat stroke and heart attack. So please be careful during your long distance runs.

#6. Boxing

This sport has an extensive list of in-ring fatalities. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since the aim of boxing is to beat the hell out of your opponent with the primary target being the opponent’s head. Since 1930, there have been 35 deaths in professional boxing bouts that were direct results of injuries sustained during fights. Most recently, Canadian Tim Hague, who died in 2017 after being knocked out five times in two rounds. Legendary fighters such as Sugar Ray Robinson and Ray Mancini also had opponents die as a result of their fights.

#7. Football

It’s a sport where players dive on the ground and writhe in agony if an opponent just blows air in their direction, a sport where not a single strand of Cristiano Ronaldo’s slick, gelled up hair goes out of place after 90 minutes of action. So you will be shocked to know that it is the sport with the highest number of on field fatalities in history. Since 1889, football has had 139 on-field fatalities, most of them stemming from cardiac arrests and head injury. So next time you book a football game with your friends, be a little more careful and protect more than just your shins.

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