Winter Olympics Injury Rates Revealed – But Which Sport is the Riskiest?

  • More than 1 in 10 athletes were injured in the last two Winter Olympics
  • Snowboard cross revealed to be the most dangerous winter sport
  • 34% of snowboard cross participants were injured in 2014
  • 42% of the freestyle skiers at the 2014 Sochi Olympics were injured

When you’re sat at home in the warmth watching the Winter Olympics, you could be forgiven for being glad that you’re not out there risking life and limb in some of the extreme sports. Personal injury law specialists, First4Lawyers, have delved into the injuries of the Winter Olympics, and revealed some scary stats.

During the last two Olympics, 11.2% of athletes experienced at least one injury. The most common of these injures were broken limbs, brain trauma, concussion, torn ligaments, shattered knees and fractured spinal cords.

At the Sochi games in 2014 there was an average of 187 hand and finger injuries, 30 head injuries and 26 injuries to the neck or upper back.

This wide variety of injuries shows the many risks athletes take when they choose to participate in the Winter Olympics.

When it comes to winter sports, some are more dangerous than others, but the data shows that nothing is quite as dangerous as snowboard cross. During the 2014 event 34% of participants were injured, and already during this year’s games we have seen Austrian snowboarder Markus Schairer break his neck in the quarter-final.

It’s not just the snowboarding cross event causing the injuries, Team GB’s Katie Ormerod saw her 2018 Olympic dreams finish before they’d even begun as she shattered both her wrist and ankle during training for the slopestyle.

In the past two events, across all snowboarding disciplines, 16% of snowboarders were injured, with 42% of these being cranial injuries. A further 42% were knee injuries, and the remaining 16% were injuries across the body such as the neck or shoulder.

The snow isn’t the only dangerous surface winter Olympians have to face, there are also multiple events on ice, and the research reveals that the most dangerous is bobsleighing. 1 in 5 were injured at the last two games, which is no surprise considering that the event consists of participants throwing themselves down an icy track at speeds of 80mph or above.

With the events as they are, it is clear things aren’t going to get any safer, and the multitude of injuries we’ve already seen in Pyeongchang certainly supports this.

If you’re one of those who'd rather be a daredevil on the slopes, make sure that you check your travel insurance covers winter sports before you travel, as some insurers do not provide cover for such activities.



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