What Sport Has The Most Deaths?

Part of the attraction of sports isn’t only the sports betting aspect, it’s also that we can watch some of the most exciting athletes in the world push themselves to the limit while we sit in the comfort of our own living rooms. Very few of us can compete at such high levels, so it offers us a chance to live vicariously through our heroes. We instead commentate and pass judgement while the athletes are the ones putting themselves on the line. Of course, some sports are safer than others, but they aren’t the ones we’re focusing on here.

Coming up with a list of the world’s most dangerous sports probably sounds easy enough to do. Certainly, extreme sports like white-water rafting, parachuting, or bungee jumping come to mind. Although, with any list like this, there’s usually a surprise inclusion or two.

While there were numerous statistics to draw from, we’ve gone for the most extreme stat. We’re looking at those sports which cause the most deaths. Sure, athletes can die in any sport, such as heat exhaustion during a football game or a cardiac arrest while running a marathon. But there are some sports that carry more risk than others, with death staring the athlete right in the face. Those who earn their living this way are a special breed. They need adrenaline, danger, and speed, and television seems to love all three. Here are the world’s deadliest sports.

5. Skydiving

0.99 deaths per a population of 100,000

Odds of death: 1 in 101,083

The inclusion of skydiving is unlikely to be much of a surprise to you on a list such as this. With nothing more than a parachute as support, jumping from a plane at several thousand feet above the ground is clearly a risky venture.

Deaths can be caused by user error or faulty equipment, but there are also cases of deaths from such medical incidences as strokes or heart attacks. It’s still a safe sport from a statistical standpoint, however, many people around the world continue to take part in it.

4. Running

1.03 deaths per a population of 100,000

Odds of death: 1 in 97,455

There’s no sport more accessible than running. After all, it doesn’t require any equipment, aside from a pair of shoes to run in. Just like cycling, running on the road always presents a risk from road traffic. But there might be another reason why it’s one of the world’s deadliest sorts.

Many people start running later in life, and unfortunately, there have been a high number of reports of people suffering from heart attacks while running. Statistically speaking, it’s still very rare, and there are still great benefits to running.

3. Cycling

1.08 deaths per a population of 100,000

Odds of death: 1 in 92,325

Cycling is popular, whether indoors or outdoors. It’s outdoors cycling, however, that’s the most popular variety, as you only need a bike to compete. Cycling clubs exist in associations and clubs all over the world, and there are competitions for both amateurs and professionals. While BMX competitions and mountain biking are both popular, it’s road racing that attracts the most attention. The top races aside, cyclists are doing their thing alongside general road traffic, which makes it risky. After all, someone is 17 times more likely to die on a bike than in a car.

2. Swimming

1.77 deaths per a population of 100,000

Odds of death 1 in 56,587

It may surprise you to see swimming so high on our list. Maybe you only think of swimming as a sport that takes place at the very highest level, such as in the Olympics. But it’s much bigger than that. It can also include endurance swimming and open water swimming, which explains why the death rate is so high.

1. Base Jumping

43.17 per a population of 100,000
Odds of death: 1 in 2,317

Base jumping is the world’s deadliest sport. And by some distance. Base jumpers use a parachute to ensure a safe landing when leaping off natural features, structures, and tall buildings. However, unlike with the various forms of parachuting, there isn’t enough time to turn to a reserve chute if the first one fails. Base jumping is actually illegal globally, so it’s often performed without medics and official safety teams on hand.

Honorable Mentions

Of course, there are other sports that can cause severe injuries and not just deaths. Here are a few sports that you might not have thought of, or even heard of. Yet they’re still among those sports with the highest number of injuries. And none of these sports involve jumping out of a plane (although one is remarkable similar).


You might not have expected cheerleading to be considered at all dangerous, but when you think about it, some of these athletes are tossed some 30 feet in the air. Considering their unprotected head, a single missed catch could indeed have severe consequences. Considered one of America’s most dangerous high school sports, it causes more head injuries than high school football.

Jai Alai

We included this one largely because many of you have probably never heard of it before. In actuality, it’s not all that surprising that it’s considered one of the most dangerous sports there is. Throwing hard rubber balls at someone upwards of 200 miles per hour is a risky thing to do. Striking someone in the face with a ball resulting in instant death isn’t even uncommon in this sport. Fortunately, there are fewer people now playing it.


Skiing rarely results in death when enjoyed on the slopes and runs found at a ski resort. However, jumping out of a helicopter adds a far riskier element for those who find that regular skiing doesn’t pump up their adrenalin quite enough. It’s not even the helicopter that’s likely to kill the athlete, but the actual snow. Due to the sport taking place in high mountains with snow untouched by humans, the most common cause of death in this sport are avalanches.

Wrap Up

Many other sports can be considered dangerous due to their very nature. They ask athletes to push themselves to extremes in order to progress and compete at the highest level they can. Sometimes, however, they can push themselves too much, and the consequences can be tragic. I guess there had to be a reason so many of us prefer to watch at home.