Following a record low number of sports and recreational injuries reported in 2020, injuries increased 20% in 2021. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that in the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic, amid the majority of shelter-in-place restrictions, visits to emergency departments for consumer product-related injuries fell 24% (see the consumer product injury page). The largest decreases in injuries were sports-related. Injuries associated with track and field, lacrosse, hockey, soccer, baseball, softball, football, and basketball all saw reductions of more than 60% from March through September 2020. Sports injuries saw the largest decreases in the younger to late teen ages in the 2020 period. The CPSC attributes these large decreases to the suspension of school and youth sports leagues in the spring and summer months of 2020, in response to the pandemic.
Because the sports and recreational injury data presented here reflect only emergency department visits, and not injuries that are self-treated, or treated in doctor’s offices/urgent care centers, it is not clear if injuries actually decreased in 2020 or if just visits to emergency departments to treat the injuries decreased.
In 2021, 3.2 million people were treated in emergency departments for injuries involving sports and recreational equipment. The activities most frequently associated with injuries are exercise, cycling, and basketball.