The public might be over-estimating the injury risks associated with horse-riding, research by a British healthcare provider suggests.
Benenden compared what people perceived to be the most dangerous sports to what it termed “the reality” – sports most likely to cause injuries according to the research.
The public rated boxing the most dangerous, with 41.9% of those surveyed plumping for this as their first choice. Rugby was next at 19.1%, with horse riding third at 13.5%.
The top ten were rounded out by the martial arts at 5.9%, weightlifting/body building at 5.7%, football at 3.4%, hockey at 2.3%, gymnastics at 1.8%, cycling at 1.5% and running at running 1%.
The organisation’s research into the sports most likely to cause injury painted a very different picture, with football, running and rugby revealed to carry the greatest risk of a serious injury.
Benenden based its findings on a survey of people who have taken part in a range of sports. It asked them about which injuries they had sustained while taking part. It also sought to find out why many of them did not seek medical advice.
Football was revealed to be Britain’s most dangerous sport, with nearly with 1 in 5 (18.9%) revealing they had been injured whilst playing.
People are in fact six times more likely to suffer an injury playing football than initially perceived, and the injuries most likely to occur include a sprained ankle (40 per cent), knee injury (32 per cent) and concussion (13 per cent).
Despite the popular belief that rugby was one of the most brutal sports in Britain, the study showed that people were four times more likely to suffer an injury playing football. Rugby was third on the list, at 4.9%, well behind the second-most dangerous sport under Benenden’s assessment – running. Nearly one in 10 runners (9.4%) surveyed had been injured.
The top three were followed by cycling (4.5%), swimming (3.2%), weightlifting/body building (3%), tennis (2.8%), martial arts 2.8%, horse riding (2.6%), and badminton (2.3%).
Parents in the survey admitted that they actively dissuaded their children from playing what they would consider to be dangerous sports. Top of this list were boxing (74 per cent), weightlifting (29 per cent) and rugby (37 per cent), whilst gentler activities such as table tennis and badminton proved to be the sport of choice for worried parents.
One in five admitted that they “couldn’t be bothered” to seek medical help for an injury and a third (29 per cent) were still suffering as a consequence.
One in five said they weren’t informed of available ongoing treatment options such as physiotherapy by medical professionals, and 1 in 10 didn’t realise that physiotherapy was even available on the National Health Service (NHS). Fifteen per cent weren’t told that they needed physiotherapy.
With half of those surveyed feeling that their suffering would be considerably reduced if they had received physiotherapy, there was an obvious gap in the treatment of commonplace injuries such as sprained ankles within the NHS, Benenden said.
Benenden’s hospital director, Jane Abbott, said all sports carried a certain amount of risk.
“However, the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle far outweigh the risk of injury, which can be greatly reduced through proper training and warm ups.
“When participating in new sporting activities, you should set yourself incremental goals. For example, do not immediately set out to run five miles a day; instead, gradually build up your mileage on a weekly basis.
“Ensuring you have a varied exercise schedule and a healthy, nutrient rich diet can also help to reduce your chances of injury.”
Abbott said it was concerning to see that the public were taking part in these sports but not taking responsibility for injuries incurred whilst playing.
People who suffered pain or swelling should immediately stop the activity and rest for a few days, she said.
“If pain persists, stop exercising and seek medical attention. It’s extremely important to remember that if you recognise symptoms early and treat them appropriately, your recovery should be uncomplicated and successful.”