Sports and Recreational Injuries

Sports and recreational injuries decreased 27% in 2020


The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that in the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid the majority of shelter-in-place restrictions, visits to emergency departments for consumer product-related injuries fell 24% (see the consumer product injury page). The largest decreases in injuries were sports-related. Injuries associated with track and field, lacrosse, hockey, soccer, baseball, softball, football, and basketball all saw reductions of more than 60% from March through September 2020. Sports injuries saw the largest decreases in the younger to late teen ages in the 2020 period. The CPSC attributes these large decreases to the suspension of school and youth sports leagues in the spring and summer months of 2020, in response to the pandemic.

Because the sports and recreational injury data presented on this page reflects only emergency department visits, and not injuries that are self-treated, or treated in doctor’s offices/urgent care centers, it is not clear if injuries actually decreased in 2020 or if just visits to emergency departments to treat the injuries decreased.

This interactive table provides estimates of the number and rate of injuries treated in hospital emergency departments associated with various sports and recreational activities. Because the list of sports is not complete, and the frequency and duration of participation is unknown, no inference should be made concerning the relative safety of these sports and recreational activities.

Use this table to explore the frequency of injuries by specific sport or activity, the age groups most often injured, and the sex most often injured. It will also detail if the victim was treated and released. For example, with regard to bicycle and accessory injuries, the number of injuries increased slightly in 2020 (425,910 injuries in 2020 compared to 417,485 in 2019), the age group with the highest injury rate is 5- to 14-year-olds, more than twice as many males are injured as females (305,556 males vs. 120,354 females), and 87% of injury victims are treated in emergency departments and released.

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