Tuesday, 8 May 2012

cycling risks

An article in the paper relating to the recent unfortunate death of a hockey player after being struck by a ball mentioned that a sports insurer rated hockey the second safest. The website of the insurance company includes a sports injury calculator that is interesting to have a play with. Although cycling is perceived to be a dangerous sport (and seeing the skin lost in the stage 3 Giro d'Italia sprint tends to make me think likewise), but it is far from the top of the pile based upon insurance data.

Sports that have a greater risk of injury than cycling for a male in the 30-39 age bracket with a good fitness level are:
  • baseball
  • equestrian
  • fencing
  • football (Australian rules)
  • football (Gaelic)
  • gridiron
  • hurling
  • ice hockey
  • motorsports
  • netball
  • rugby league
  • rugby union
Cycling has the same risk as weightlifting, and is only marginally (within 1 or 2 percent) more likely to result in an injury than golf, handball or racquetball.

It's also interesting to note that both BMX and mountain biking are listed separately and have lower risks than 'cycling'.

The calculator also casts doubt on the claim of hockey being the second safest (lawn bowls anyone?), but the newspaper article does state that the overall safety is calculated using 6 risk categories, and risk of injury (as identified by this calculator) is only one. Risk of death is the other obvious one, and apparently this is the first recorded hockey death in Australia ever.

Playing with the calculator, I was also interested to see some of the figures approach 100% risk. People in the 99% risk category include:
  • 'world class' male cyclists over 60 years of age (99%)
  • 'high fitness' male hurlers over 30 years of age (99%)
  • male Australian rules footballers over 50 years of age, no matter what their fitness level (99%)

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