Nov 24 2007
08:03 am
By: WhitesCreek

A thread at KnoxViews is discussing dangerous dogs and, while following the links, I ran across this interesting set of statistics.

Cause of injury.... Emergency room incidents annually

Baseball/softball... 404,364
Dog bites ... 333,687
Playground accidents ... 268,810
All-terrain vehicles, mopeds, etc.... 125,136
Volleyball ...97,523
Inline skating ...75,994
Horseback riding ...71,162
Baby walkers ...28,000
Skateboards ...25,486

I'm surprised at the most dangerous sport. It's a little misleading because it is a total number and does not relate to the likelyhood of injury from a particular activity. Ice Hockey and Football are the most likely to injure a participant but they don't make the list because there are far fewer participants. (Basketball and Soccer have the most participants of any sports and don't make the list)

All I know is that I'm done with my baby walker. That's OK, because I'll have that other kind soon enough, judging from the way my knees hurt after yesterday's hike.


The source I think you are relying on is incorrect. The source it in turn relies upon indicates that the list is not of the most "common causes of emergency-room injuries", but instead only of "Injuries Associated With Selected Activities and Products" (emphasis added).

The actual source for the sports injury figures is apparently a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission survey of causes of ER visits for calendar year 1994. I couldn't find the full USCPSC survey, but some more sports numbers are included in a USCPSC youth baseball injury report here, at page 5, .

Instead of showing baseball as the sport causing the most injuries, the USCPSC figures show basketball as causing the most ER visits (716,114), followed by "bicyles and accessories" (604,455), then football (424,622).

What I want to know is how does one hurt oneself with a bicycle accessory? Over-vigorous tire pumping?

I'd also like to see the comparable statistics for all causes of ER visits, if anyone wants to dig it up.

Good stuff, Mark

I didn't follow the links far enough to dig into it, but I should have. I also should question a study by baseball that shows a different sport to be dangerous.

None of the raw numbers mean much until they are converted to a "per number of participants" ratio, as in "injuries per 1000 participants" or something.

I helped conduct a study some years ago on the rates of serious injuries for sports activities that only dealt in life threatening injuries. It showed Cheerleading to be the most dangerous sport followed by Ice hockey and then football. Basketball, which looks bad on the study you found, was shown to be relatively benign, as in lots of "owies" but few head injuries or deaths.

The sad part is that no one seems to be willing to be honest and just put the numbers out there. They all want to spin it to make their sport look better than that other sport.

On the other hand...A dog bite is a dog bite is a dog bite. Even a Pomeranian is on record as having killed a human child. Statistically, though, I'll take my chances with the Pom and hope America gets over it's fascination with blood sport and attack dogs as a substitute for courage.

As I noted over on

As I noted over on Knoxviews, dog bites are serious. They're not the number two health problem in the nation, but they are serious.

That said, now that we are on the subject of breed-specific dogbites, I would like to get very serious. It is time to again question the statistics. Your source obviously underreports the number of fatalities by the vicious Pomeranian. At the same time, it slanderously alleges that the peaceful, loving, highly intelligent coonhound is a murderer. Common sense tells us that your source is trying to manipulate the data in an attempt to taint public perceptions about the noble coonhound.

Correction: I misread the chart. The coonhound only allegedly caused "bodily harm," not, as did the Pomeranian, death.

The study was a bit vacuous

The study was a bit vacuous but all it seemed to be doing was comparing dog bite to a common sports injury. I think that if you look at the severity of injury, dog bite probably jumps ahead on a per injury basis.

When sorting through all this, one should keep in mind that the Nation's most dangerous animal is the Whitetail deer. It is the suicide bomber of the animal world, killing about 150 humans each year.

Even so, I'm still glad my kids are deer hunters and not football players.

Statistics Update

Kenneth Phillips, the author of the dog-bite law website WC cited, has updated his site, removing the above-discussed "common causes of emergency-room injuries" factoid. Instead, the website now says:

Getting bitten by a dog is the fifth most frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms caused by activities common among children. (See Weiss HB, Friedman DI, Coben JH. Incidence of dog bite injuries treated in emergency departments, JAMA 1998;279:53; also see US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Injuries associated with selected sports and recreational equipment treated in hospital emergency departments, calendar year 1994. Consumer Product Safety Review, Summer 1996;1:5.)

He also posted over at Knoxviews that dog bites "rank fifth [most common cause of emergency-room visits] according to the most recent studies that I can find" and that he thinks any solution should not be limited to one breed of dog.

I think he is probably still wrong. His new statistic assumes that the only more common causes of emergency room visits than dog bites are (1) football, (2) basketball, (3) bicyles, and (4) baseball. I am thinking that at least one non-sports related cause is more common than dog bites, but frankly don't have the time to dig into it any more.

A CDC study

This CDC study is also for selected sports and leaves out Cheerleading and Ice Hockey for reasons I can only guess at, but it is very current and has better methodology. It shows all reported injuries, whatever that means.

It shows the injury rates "per Exposure" which may be misleading in and of itself but you have to use something. I would like to convert it to per minute played or something but that isn't perfect either. A three minute wrestling round is far more intense than most any three minutes in other sports and football players actually only play about 10 minutes of an entire game if they were to play both offense and defense.

Even so, football appears to be almost twice as dangerous as the next sport, wrestling. It would be far worse if this were on a per minute basis, since a wrestling competition involves a series of matches that would add up to several times the player minutes in a football game.

CDC study

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