By Amanda Wilks
There’s no disputing the fact that deadly extreme sports are becoming more popular than ever! It’s quite difficult to pin point a figure that demonstrates just how much these actions sports popularity has picked up nowadays, but it’s even harder to find an individual who thinks that the trade is not flourishing.
In the UK for instance, the British Parachute Association recorded just over 39,000 first time jumps in 2006. By 2015 the number of first-time jumpers had increased to 59,000 who were registered as full members. It is true to say that regular divers’ rates have been increasing in the same proportion.
These statistics only serve to show that dare devils are in full throttle. Here are a few ways they can use to feed their enthusiasm:
Wingsuit flying is an extreme sport in another category altogether. Most the jumpers are aware of the risks involved, but many believe the reward of soaring over a city is worth it. This sport, however, is not all fun as we have come to see through Mark Sutton who died crashing into the Alps while filming for Epic TV.
Statistically, over 200 BASE jumpers have passed between 1981 and 2012. Diving from a plane does carry more risks, but its rates of injury and fatalities are likely to be around the same for skydiving. For BASE jumpers, 80 deaths have been caused by the failure of the parachutes to deploy, 60 from body strikes, 19 deaths from rocks or nearby surface and 17 from line twists.
Overall this leaves the fatality rate for Wingsuit BASE jumping at approximately 1 death per 500-1000 jumps. While these stats may be a deal breaker for many, they are the dopamine hit for extreme athletes.
Paintball is one of the fun extreme sports to engage in. For the most part, the sport is safe aside from injuries from knocking obstacles or falling. Very rare injuries come from taking off the protective gear, but if rules are adhered to, the sport is very safe. In 2003 the National Injury Information Clearinghouse quantified paintball as a safer sport than bowling.
Away from the public misconception, the sport has recorded no death since its inception, with only 600 people reporting to the Emergency Department, 80% of which were treated for minor injuries and released as reported by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in 2008.
The cost of playing paintball anywhere is as expensive as the participant choose to invest. Fifty six percent of participants listed ‘private property’ as the venue to play. As if the fun is not enough the sport also pays well with over 60% of the paintball participants living off an income of over $50,000 annually.
This extreme sport was a small obscure activity in the early 1990s but has gained traction through the proliferation of the prize money 15-fold to an estimated $10 million. Whoever said that the higher the risk, the higher the return was spot on with this one.
Cowboys make good money from the sport owing to its popularity. A ride in the US can make over $30,000 every weekend. From another point of view, the rodeo injury database indicates that 20 out of every 100,000 participants are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries.
This figure is extreme for any pro-sport and alarming for any setting. With over 20 deaths since 1989 to date, this sport has recorded more deaths than any other, coupled with over 50 catastrophic injuries. An 8-second ride is qualified and is mostly regarded as the most dangerous 8 seconds in sports.
Snowboarding is a popular sport with a growth rate of 20% which has surpassed all snow sports. Evidence of people snowboarding started as early as 1910 while the sport was invented in 1965.
Snurfer competitions held in Michigan were held to promote the toy before people’s interest in the snowboard grew. Snowboarding was introduced during the winter Olympics in 1998 with only 4 events but has since developed and experienced additions to 10 events by the 2014 Olympics.
The first ever snowboarding Olympics gold medal won by a Canadian was almost wasted as she tested positive for marijuana. After facts were laid out, the rule was overturned because marijuana was not on the list of banned substances.
Skateboarding is a popular sport that adds health benefits to its enthusiasts as much as it’s a pleasurable sport. With its current popularity, it’s hard to believe that pioneers of the game participated in golf tournaments to raise money for skateboarding parks.
Of all the sports, skateboarders are the most likely to suffer a skull fracture and head & neck related injuries by a large margin. Children as young as 2 years are toying around with the skateboard while the oldest skateboard leaner known was 67 years old. With regards to its material choice, the deck is made of seven pieces of plywood unrecognizable by the naked eye.
In conclusion, occurrences of injuries are certainly increasing with increased participation in extreme sports. Between 2000 and 2011, 11% of the injuries were head or neck related. Although this can be discouraging, the message is to get participants to put on protective gear to prevent any further damage until trained supervision, safety and regulation arrive in extreme action sports.