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Risks of Recreational Sports Injuries in Nevada

While Nevada may be a small state, Nevadans love their sports. But with any level of sporting fun, be it professional or purely amateur, come risks of recreational sports injuries.

Las Vegas is home to the Golden Knights hockey team, the Stanley Cup runners-up in the 2017-2018 professional hockey season. There is no major league baseball team in Nevada, but Reno is home to the minor-league Reno Aces and Las Vegas hosts the Las Vegas 51s. College Sports are popular at both University of Nevada campuses, and Nevada universities have groomed sports stars such as Colin Kaepernick and Chris Carr who have gone on to have professional careers. While Nevada is not currently home to a team from the National Football League (NFL), that will change when the Raiders move east and become the Las Vegas Raiders.

While the Raiders’ move is an exciting one for Nevada, professional football is a sport which comes with a significant risk of serious injury. In 2019, players in the NFL experienced a total of 224 concussions as well as significant bodily injuries such as tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL, 47 such tears) and to the medial collateral ligament (MCL, 109 such injuries). All these figures are down from 2012 when we saw 261 concussions, 62 ACL tears, and 131 MCL tears. [1] Injury-prevention measures are obvious making a dent in the carnage, but football can still be considered a very dangerous sport given its role in causing recreational sports injuries.

Football players experience a high rate of injury compared to other athletes. This is partly because football is an inherently dangerous, high-contact sport. Unlike sports such as swimming or tennis, football involves player-to-player contact. Players sometimes collide at high speed on the field. While safety equipment, such as helmets and pads, is required for football players from a young age, these measures likely do too little to reduce the risk of recreational sports injuries to players on the field.

According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Death from a sports injury is rare
  • The leading cause of death from a sports-related injury is a brain injury
  • More than 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are injured playing sports each year
  • More than three-quarters of a million children are treated in emergency rooms for recreational sports injuries annually
  • The highest rates of injury occur in sports that involve contact and collisions, such as football
  • Most organized sports injuries occur during practice
  • Almost one-quarter of a million children are treated in emergency rooms each year for football injuries [2]

Recent Nevada Boxing Injury

Football isn’t the only dangerous sport performed in Nevada. On Saturday night, Tyson Fury went up against Deontay Wilder at the Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for a boxing match. Boxing is a high-contact sport, in which two fighters go after each other for several rounds with gloved fists. In this match, Wilder received a punch to the ear in the third round that left him disoriented and wobbly. He continued to fight, but ultimately he threw in the towel in the seventh round. Wilder was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a small cut inside his ear. The doctors felt that this may have affected his equilibrium during the second half of the fight. He received a few stitches and should recover from this sports injury. [3]

Injuries to the ear can affect much more than our sense of hearing. Loop-shaped canals deep within the inner ear contain fluids and sensors that help us maintain our balance and sense of equilibrium. There are also tiny particles called otoconia in cells at the bases of the ear canals that help monitor the position of one’s head in relation to gravity when in motion. [4] Injuries that affect the ear canals and inner ear can have a negative effect on one’s balance and gross motor skills and can create a feeling of nausea or motion sickness.


Another sports injury this week occurred when Ryan Newman crashed during the last lap of the Daytona 500. Newman announced that he had suffered a head injury during the race, but he did not provide details as to the nature or severity of the injury.  According to Newman: “I was fortunate to avoid any internal organ damage or broken bones. I did sustain a head injury for which I’m currently being treated. The doctors have been pleased with my progression over the last few days.” [5]

Newman’s injury occurred during the last lap of the race. He was involved in a crash that sent his car into a wall and then airborne. He was hit in the driver’s-side door by another car on the track and was then trapped upside-down in his vehicle. Rescue workers had to race to free him from the damaged car. Despite the severity of the crash, Newman expects to make a full recovery and has already been talking about returning to NASCAR racing. [6]

While Newman seems to have walked away from a high-speed crash with relatively minor sports injuries, other NASCAR drivers have not been so lucky. Over the years, NASCAR has seen a total of 28 fatalities. The most recent death at a NASCAR event occurred in 2001 when Dale Earnhardt was killed during the Daytona 500 in a crash with many eerie similarities to Newman’s close call. Safety in the sport has improved over the years, with better safety technology such as roll cages, window nets, driving suits, and helmets, but the sport remains one with a significant risk of sports injury and death. [7]






[6] Ibid.


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