Are some sports too dangerous to play?

The tragic death of  Nodar Kumaritashvili, a young Olympian Luge competitor, late last Friday provoked a debate about this sport and the risks involved. Here at WHYS we were wondering if some sports are too dangerous to play or compete in?

Is Luge one of them? This blogger says it is one of the most dangerous sports.

This New York Times article also highlights the risks: ….“Luge is a tough sport. It takes a long time to master…..at the end of the day, we’re going 95-98 miles an hour and we’re six inches off the ice. We get down a mile of track in 45 seconds. There’s an inherent risk.”

Is the danger and risk part of the whole package of sport and its excitement?

Is it sometimes a price to high to pay? Maybe Nodar Kumaritashvili’s father thought so, as quoted in this Daily Telegraph article…”but I know that he should never have been going that fast; that kind of speed is too much in this sport.”

Do spectators and competitors place intense pressure in sport to perform, regardless of the risks involved? One Indian competitor thinks so, he’s  quoted in the same New York Times article …“We are professional athletes. We need to perform. The whole world is watching us.”

There are a whole host of dangers in sport and dangerous sports. From the well known risks in sports like Rugby, Formula 1 Racing, Skiing and more dangerous pursuits like rock climbing and hang gliding. Yet boxing stands out as a sport that has attracted such great criticism over the years.

Late last year Headway a brain injury charity attacked enhanced public funding for boxing in this Guardian article Guardian article. Headway says it is immoral to encourage children to participate in boxing.

In the same Guardian article, The British Medical Council and the World Medical Council are quoted as all believing boxing should be banned.

Have you participated in a dangerous sport or do you think boxing, Luge and many others  are just too dangerous to play or compete in?

26 Responses to “Are some sports too dangerous to play?”

  1. 1 patti in cape coral
    February 15, 2010 at 17:51

    I feel strongly that adults should be allowed to play whatever sports they choose, and parents have to choose for children on an individual basis depending on the child’s maturity and skill level, and ammelioration of risk. However, the few times in my life I’ve watched a boxing match, I couldn’t help thinking that there are easier and more pleasant ways to make your money.

  2. 2 teej
    February 15, 2010 at 17:58

    In a past life, i raced yachts offshore. I have lost friends over the years to the sport. It happens. I was several times in extremely hazardous situations. Personally i did not do this sport to satisfy others, only to challenge myself and i left the profession when it became too popular and started too be regulated by those who did not compete or understand it.
    We were a well drilled group of capable people but none of us were put off by the personal risk, nor did we take these risks lightly
    No, i do not think there are sports that are too dangerous to do, nor do i think it is the business of casual observers to place these questionable limitations on our liberty and freedom to screw up our lives.

  3. 3 jens
    February 15, 2010 at 18:14

    everybody who sits on a luge and shoots down an ice channel at 140 Km/H is aware of the danger involved. heck i hit speeds of over 100 km/H skiing and i know the consequences all too well as a ski patroler.

    the question should be, is road traffic to dangerouse to be tackeled daily. we humans are really poor at assesing risk. i am certain that it is a lot riskier for the average person to travel every day than it is for a trained athlet to take part in a competion.

  4. 4 Crystal Ball
    February 15, 2010 at 18:31

    Many sports are dangerous and this is part of the attraction, man battling against the odds. This is the very essence of the Olympics!
    What is senseless is building a luge track with metal girders built next to the track on one of the fastest curves. The design was an accident waiting to happen!
    On curves like this there must be no off track obstructions and safety stretch nets to catch athletes that get it wrong. Had that been the case this poor athlete may be recovering now with a few broken bones instead of leaving a legacy of several broken lives behind him!

  5. 5 Andrew in Australia
    February 15, 2010 at 18:41

    The question should be, are you good enough to engage in such sports?

    All sports are dangerous, inherently, some more that others, but you can die in probably any pursuit. That is the nature of the world.

    Sounds corny, but my mantra is simple, “Ignore physics at your peril”. You can’t run away from that or protect against it completely.

  6. 6 Alex V - Chicago
    February 15, 2010 at 18:44

    Sports are designed to entertain, and the athletes who participate are passionate in their sport. When you agree to play a certain sport though, you know that there are risks you have to take. The question is are you willing to take them?

    Personally, there are some sports I do consider dangerous (like boxing). But if that person is willing to take that risk to play that sport, then I guess that person doesn’t consider it dangerous.

  7. 7 TomK in Mpls
    February 15, 2010 at 19:20

    *NEVER*! If for any reason, you don’t approve of something, don’t support it in any way. If a sufficient majority agree with you, it might go away. Unless of course their is a sufficient number of people that want to live life on their own terms, to keep it alive. Before you consider any action to stop others from putting only themselves at risk, living as they choose. Ask yourself, would you want others to be able to stop you from living as you choose, for any reason that they might feel strongly about?

  8. February 15, 2010 at 20:35

    It’s the TV and money from advertisement fueling it all…

  9. 9 Thomas Murray
    February 15, 2010 at 22:43

    I ditto everyone.

    In my 20s I used to ski dive, but became satisfied about overcoming my fear after I free fell (about ten jumps in). I also became acutely aware of just how dangerous the sport was — free fall is where I had my first mishap; I couldn’t find my ripcord (it “floats” up the shoulder slightly out of reach in “weightlessness”) — the more you do it, the more you increase the odds of something nasty happening.

    Still, I’d be the last person to talk a young person out of it. Per capita, it’s still safer than American football.

    –Louisville, Kentucky, US.

  10. 10 loudobservant
    February 15, 2010 at 22:49

    If they want to legalize dangerous sports of any kind,they must have strict safety measures surrounding the event and arena.*
    However,there are many safe physical activities existent or non-existent and, yet, to be invented,
    * When I said this,I mean TENNIS. Monica Selles of Germany,a very brilliant player was attacked with a knife by some fanatic,and, unfortunately,she had to retire prematurely,What a shame!!This happened because there,apparently,was no security check at the gate,and no security personnels to protect the players,as well as,no security barriers around the courts.
    Does this not prove the fact that we are still partially living in a cave age?
    In fact,history has proven that CAVE AGE was more congenial and safe.

  11. February 15, 2010 at 23:16

    The IOC should consider excluding sports which carry high levels of inherent risk to any and all participants. Its decisions have great power to focus attention on new forms of contest.

    There is a moral imperative to consider whether a large ammount of resources should be invested in extrordinary precautions for the benefit of the few. Having such sports in the Olympic programmes encourages this, and brings national rah-rah into it; the money could be better spent on playing fields and indoor facilities for those in high latitudes.

    This sport will not contrtibute to the general health and fitness of the population, in the way that so many “ordinary” sports do

  12. 12 Anthony
    February 15, 2010 at 23:49

    If we take away the right to play dangerous sports, we might as well ban smoking and booze, and if we are going that route, then we should make fast food illegal too. Where does it stop?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  13. 13 Sanousi Sesay
    February 16, 2010 at 01:00

    Any sport that risks one’s life should be banned. one should not gamble with one’s life in the name of entertainment and fun. Life is more precious than any medal or price.

  14. 14 Bert
    February 16, 2010 at 01:27

    I think that many sports are dangerous, especially when people attempt to compete on a large scale. When sports are played competitively, it’s hard to find one that isn’t detrimental to health, even if not an immediate danger to life itself.

    Even something as innocuous as high school football can, and often does, result in injuries whose after-effects will last a lifetime. And, of course, some deaths too, resulting from pre-existing but unknown health issues.

    In this case, though, that pole should not have been there.

    Parenthetically, I never watch sports on TV. Except for the Olympics.

  15. 15 Idris Dangalan
    February 16, 2010 at 10:17

    Yea! I can’t play any types of hockey and bike/car racing because are too dangerous but enjoy watching it.

  16. 16 Roberto
    February 16, 2010 at 10:49

    RE: “”a brain injury charity attacked enhanced public funding for boxing””

    ———– I’m against insipidly stoooopid charities run by career dolts.

    Most accident related brain injuries are via bathroom, ladders, or auto/cycle road accidents.

    Most all of public funding for boxing comes in amateur programs designed to funnel boxers into Olympic qualifying tourneys ever 4 yrs. Pro boxing pays it’s own way and at the top is a big business.

    In the Olympic luge death, the accident was foretold by young athlete complaints about the track being too fast. The corrupt IOC tried to squeeze extra excitement out of ratings by design and it backfired. Hope the crooks get their pants sued off and have to declare bankruptcy.

  17. 17 Ibrahim in UK
    February 16, 2010 at 13:16

    There are risks in everything. It’s up to the society to decide if the risks of the sport are too great for their appetite, or do whatever they can to reduce the risks.
    Look at Formula-1. They have taken massive precautions to minimise risks while still pushing more speed. Last fatality was over 15 years ago (unless I’m mistaken).
    Professional boxing just seems too dangerous. Punching someone’s head in until they can’t stand anymore sounds like a recipe for disaster. If you put all the protective gear on like amateur boxing, it would be less risky, but also less fun to watch. The attraction in boxing is the violence. Society is putting entertainment as a higher priority to the risk of injury.

  18. 18 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
    February 16, 2010 at 17:03

    In the case of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s death, I hold the IOC and the organizers of the Vancouver Winter Olympics responsible for designing a track that was excessively fast and dangerous. Prior to the accident, there had been numerous comments and complaints about it from the competitors.

    Although the officials were very quick to say that the accident was due to athlete error, I notice that they also changed the starting lines for competition and made other changes to the track, including covering the steel pillars.

    If, as the IOC claims, the track didn’t contribute to Mr. Kularitashvili’s accident, then they wouldn’t need to change it, now, would they?

    And it is cowardly to blame the accident completely upon the athlete; after all, he is no longer able to give us his side of the story.

  19. 19 steve
    February 16, 2010 at 17:04

    I have a lot of respect for amateur athletes who engage in dangerous sports like Luge. There’s zero money in Luge, yet they risk their lives, must be a great adrenalin rush. In the US, we hear about head injuries in the NFL, and certain groups trying to get the rules changed to prevent these injuries. However those guys are getting paid millions of dollars per year, because of those risks they face.

  20. 20 steve
    February 16, 2010 at 17:07

    Banning a sport simply because someone can get killed in it would result in the banning of every sport. You can get killed playing anything. You can be killed by a frisbee. I knew a guy who died playing lacrosse because he was struck by lightening. You can drown in a swimming pool swimming laps, you can drown playing water polo. People have been known to drop dead on US football fields just from exerting themselves. I once saw a NHL goalkeeper have his neck get sliced by a ice skate and he bled profusely on the ice, though her survived, you can be killed from getting hit by a baseball, you can get killed from being hit by a hockey puck while sitting in the stands watching the game. There are risks in everything. Are we all going to have to live in bubbles and wear helmets everywhere we go?

  21. 21 John in Salem
    February 16, 2010 at 17:43

    Every mature and sane adult should have the right to act as stupidly with their own lives as they wish.
    It’s called natural selection.

  22. 22 John Smith - Jamaica
    February 16, 2010 at 18:01


    We all know what sports are and we all want them bigger, better, faster, stronger and more dangerous. So no, I don’t think some sports are too risky to play. Those who partake know of the dangers and pursue them otherwise.
    Its no different from a gunman or a terrorist knowing they will be caught, but still doing it anyway. Let sporting personalities continue to do what thrills them and continue to entertain us.

  23. 23 Dennis Junior
    February 16, 2010 at 18:17

    Yes, there are many sports that are way to dangerous to play–but, there should be considered to be allowed only if certain protections to be implemented.

    (Dennis Junior)

  24. February 17, 2010 at 14:41

    Dont let the HSE get involved in sport, Thay have ruiend everything thay have been involved in before.No one is forced to take part and all know the risks. Insurance might be th awnser. not legislation.

  25. 25 JanB
    February 18, 2010 at 15:31

    Aside from Gladiator games, I don’t believe any sport is “too dangerous”. But I do believe the sporting environment should be made as safe as possible (Kumaritashvili could still be alive if the course had softer safety walls), that children shouldn’t just be able to roll into a sport like boxing (when they first begin to play they are too young to understand the dangers) and that people who engage in these sports should pay more insurance (maybe they already do, I don’t know) because their hobby costs society millions.

  26. 26 Subhash C Mehta
    February 19, 2010 at 14:39

    Yes, there are some sports that are too dangerous to play; but ultimately it is the choice/option of the participants, which determines the inclusion or exclusion of the sport. As for the viewers; more dangerous the sport, more thrilled they are.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: