Which Sport Is Most Likely To Kill You?

At their core, sports have always been about enjoyment, community, and togetherness. You may not think it, with the way that violence often erupts between rival fans and such, but perhaps that's exactly the point: Sports generate shared passions. They bring us together in a pursuit that, by its very nature, is supposed to be for recreation and fun.

Football enthusiasts, for instance, may grow up tossing a ball between friends, gather to watch matches on television or at stadiums, and maybe even go pro eventually. Tom Brady, for instance, is worth an estimated $250 million (per Celebrity Net Worth), which tells you all you need to know about the fun, fitness, and flabbergasting finances that a life spent immersed in the world of sports can offer.

Daydreams of fame and fortune are one thing, but there's something else to consider: the risks. Almost all sports are dangerous in some way or another, and awful accidents can happen. Naturally, some sports are more likely to kill you than others, and some of the most dangerous are not that surprising.

From gaming to skydiving

Various data from the National Center For Health Statistics was gathered and collated into perhaps one of the most ominous and terrifying infographics to ever exist. Published by Best Health Degrees, it's titled Your Chances Of Dying, and those who are anxious at the best of times might want to give it a miss. To summarize it for everyone else, though: You're not safe doing anything. Ever.

The National Center For Health Statistics reports that in the U.S., the life expectancy is 77.9 years. Needless to say, all kinds of tragic factors can contribute to this, with heart disease reportedly being the most common cause of death. In fact, theĀ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2020 that 211.5 deaths out of every 100,000 in the population were caused by it.

Playing video games, swimming, and sky diving may not be such common causes of death, but your chance of dying from these activities (and many more) may be much higher than you think.

The perils of base jumping

According to the National Center For Health Statistics (via Best Health Degrees), playing computer games or tabletop games is a relatively safe pursuit. Your chance of dying while enjoying either, it seems, is one in 100 million. While swimming, it's one in a million, and you're twice as likely to die while bungee jumping (one in 500,000).

Using these numbers as a sort of baseline, we can see that sports players run a sort of gauntlet of deadliness. Canoeing comes with a one in 10,000 chance of death, while American football has a comparatively low one in 50,000 chance to kill you. Some of the most dangerous sports, per the data, are hang gliding (one in 560) and Grand Prix racing (one in 100), but the most deadly of all, the one the infographic deems the Most Dangerous Assorted Sports and Recreational Activity, is base jumping. Base jumpers have a one in 60 chance to be killed, reportedly.

It's painfully clear that base jumping is a perilous pursuit. In 2016, National Geographic reported that the Base Fatality List, "an unofficial and non-comprehensive wiki that records BASE fatalities dating back to 1981 for educational purposes within the community, surpassed 300 names." The vast majority of them (260), heart-wrenchingly, reportedly made the list since the turn of the 21st century, suggesting that base jumping may be becoming more popular and so more deadly still.