For most people, playing a sport is a relatively simple and safe activity. There’s usually a ball that you either hit with a bat or toss on the gridiron or whack on the green way. For other people however, sports ain’t nothing without shedding some serious blood, sweat and tears. For these people here is our list of the 11 most dangerous sports in the world. Before participating in any of the following sports, make sure you have really good medical coverage!:
If it’s not a bird or a plane then it’s probably… a base jumper, one of those individuals who just don’t feel truly alive unless they’re hurling themselves with nothing but a parachute from buildings, antennas, bridges or cliffs. Chances are that if you don’t die by reaching the ground before planned, the wind could easily slam you into the object you’ve just left behind–or hoped to. Not only is this activity lethal–between 5 and 15 people die each year, according to The International PRO BASE Circuit–it’s also illegal in many parts of the world, including the U.S. Well, someone has to save those poor bastards from themselves!
Scuba (an acronym that stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) diving is an increasingly popular sport, but imitating fish clearly has its drawbacks. The ascent from a dive, if done too fast, can cause decompression illnesses (including the bends), potentially causing failure of the spinal cord, brain and lungs. Not to mention that sharks passing by might be just a tad moody.
Talk about living on the edge! Hypothermia, getting lost, getting separated from your diving buddy, low visibility, air loss and lighting failure are just some of the hazards in this umm, unusual sport. The National Speleological Society defines a successful dive as “one you return from.” Unlike open-sea diving, you can’t simply come up for air–you’d smash your head! According to the Texas-based San Marcos Area Recovery Team, more than 500 people have died since 1960 in cave diving accidents in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean alone. And experience alone does not guarantee survival, as many of the victims have been instructors and technical divers.
Big Wave Surfing
Big-wave surfing is misleading. These waves aren’t big, they’re HUGE! Drowning, by being pulled under by the current, by smashing your head against hidden rocks, or by being whacked by the board on which you were supposed to be elegantly surfing, can be deadly. As a spokesperson for the California’s Surfline, points out: “Anyone can try this sport, but the chances are you won’t be coming back.” Nice.
Started in the 1970s by a group of California kids (who obviously had nothing better to do), street luging is an extreme sport where you literally lie down on your skateboard and “butt-board” next to motor vehicles. Short of a collision, the only thing to stop you are your feet. Today, legality of this sport on highways is a gray area, and there’s no guarantee that cars or trucks will see you, let alone avoid you. Protective leathers and a helmet are essential–that is, if you don’t want to smear yourself all over the road. Ouch!
For you and me, there’s simple bike riding. For the extreme sportsman however, there’s BMX . BMX or bicycle motocross is a combination of acrobatics while riding astride a bicycle. In its basic form, BMX involves racing, but offshoots include bicycle stunts, vertical ramp and flatland. While there are no known deaths, injuries are off the charts–cuts, scrapes, bruises, breaks, concussions are but some of the injuries one can expect when doing this sport. And for a lot of these participants, these wounds are really badges of honor to be shown off at the end. Uh speaking for myself, I’m happy just to show off my photos from my tranquil bike ride around Lake George, thank you very much!
There’s a reason some things are so inaccessible—it’s God’s way of saying, “Don’t be stupid”. Still, people pay top dollar to be helicoptered (at $500 a pop) to untouched snowcaps, where they leap onto virgin slopes and ski far from crowds but very close to avalanches. Even the helicopter ride can be dangerous, and many have died en route to untouched powder (Frank Wells, former president of The Walt Disney Co. died in a helicopter crash during a heli-skiing trip in 1994). Talk about Goofy!
Rodeo started as the gymnastics of ranching: a series of highly specific competitions taken from key aspects of cattle ranching in the Old West. But there never was and never will be any reason to ride a bull: its only practical application is to make you appreciate your own job—even if you’re unemployed. Straddling 1800 pounds of leaping pissed-off beef (an effect achieved by constricting bovine genitals with rope, or TASERING, by the way) routinely results in the rider being thrown 10 feet into the air, with a landing cushioned by a mere inch of dirt and feces. And if you don’t break your jaw, ribs, or collarbone on re-entry, you still have that bull to worry about (he’s still bitter).
High Altitude Climbing
Talk about looking death in the face! About one death occurs for every six successful summits on Everest, and each victim had to pass corpses on the way up. Real mountaineers face every threat you can imagine, up to and including drowning. Other possible obstacles climbers face before reaching the summit are hypothermia, frostbite and pneumonia. Even a regular injury can be fatal, as rescue helicopters simply can’t get to you. To date, 179 out of 1,300 different Everest climbers have died, but mortality rates have started to decline since 1990.
Cheerleading dangerous?! Uhh, yeah. It has been estimated that there are over 20,000 reported cheerleading injuries a year, making cheerleading the most injury-prone sport in the world for women. Many common injuries include broken legs and spinal injuries. Think about it—it’s like diving on land, with easily distracted co-eds busily making eyes at the quarterback, serving as the water.
White Water Rafting
Surrounded by untamed rapids, participants hurtle towards…well, possibilities include smashing into rocks, being tossed out and drowning. If you fall out of the boat, foot entrapment could ensnare you, making it impossible to dislodge yourself for quite some time. Broken bones or twisted knees are common injuries. The problem with waterfalls is that you can’t see how steep the drop is beforehand. By the time it’s over, it could be too late. Yikes!
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