Sport & Recreation - BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit

Sport & Recreation

Beautiful British Columbia permits one to engage in a variety of sport, recreation and leisure activities throughout the year making injury prevention a year-round priority in this region. The leading types of sports injuries are related to cycling (25%), skiing/snowboarding (16%), ATV (10%), and playground (8%), followed by hockey and skateboarding (6%, respectively).1 The greatest number of sports injuries occur among those aged 10-19 years.

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Quick Facts & Stats


  • Drowning poses the highest risk of injury to 1-4 year olds.
  • Playgrounds pose the highest risk of injury to 5-9 year olds.
  • Tobogganing poses the highest risk of injury to 10-14 year olds.
  • Sports (hit by ball, football/rugby, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, diving, and other sports) pose the highest risk of injury to 15-19 year olds.
  • Skiing/snowboarding poses the highest risk of injury to 20-24 year olds.
  • Snowmobiling poses the highest risk of injury to 30-34 year olds.
  • Baseball poses the highest risk of injury to 35-39 year olds.
  • Cycling, boating, and ice skating pose the highest risk of injury to 50-54 year olds.
  • Animal riding poses the highest risk of injury to 55-59 year olds.

Occurrence 2

  • Males (~2,231/year) incurred 2.5x more sports injuries than females (~902/year).
  • The five leading types of sports injuries were cycling (28.7%), skiing/snowboarding (13.9%), ATV (13.1%), playground, (9.6%) and animal riding (5.5%).
  • The greatest number of overall injuries occurred in 5-9 year olds at playgrounds (4.9%).
  • The greatest number of sports injuries occurred among 15 to 19 year olds.

Costs (Total Costs of Injury by Cause, BC, 2010 – $ Millions) 3

  • Falls from skates, skis, boards, blades = $79
  • Falls in playgrounds = $36
  • Falls while diving = $4
  • Pedal cycle accidents = $99
  • ATV, snowmobile accidents = $55
  • Struck by/against Sports Equipment = $25
  • Drowning = $25


Ready for the season?

  • At your children’s annual check-up, make sure they are fit and safe to participate in their chosen sports. Discuss any concerns with your doctor.
  • Fitness and conditioning prevent injuries. Children should be active 30 to 60 minutes each day, in addition to participating in a particular sport.
  • Kids should eat a balanced diet from each of the four food groups and drink plenty of fluids. Kids should not use athletic supplements.
  • Provide the coach with emergency contact information for your child, as well as details of any medical condition or allergies.
  • Ensure that the coach is prepared to handle emergencies and is trained in first aid and CPR.

Set to play?

  • Get the right gear for each sport, make sure it fits, and make sure kids wear it properly every time they play.
  • Correctly fitted equipment is the key to preventing injury.
  • Kids should warm-up and stretch before every practice and game.
  • Ensure the league provides adequate practice time. Practice builds skills and conditioning, as well as gives kids time to learn to play safely.
  • Kids should remove all jewelry before playing, including watches, rings, earrings, and necklaces.
  • Coaches and parents should inspect the playing grounds and equipment before each practice or game to make sure everything is safe.

Play safe to keep playing

  • Ensure kids drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after play. Kids should have a fluid break at least every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Supervise actively. Coaches and parents need to help kids play by the rules, for safety and fun.
  • Injuries can happen at practices as well as during games. Keep safety in mind every time kids play.
  • Don’t “play through” an injury. Injured athletes should be examined by a physician, preferably one with experience in sports medicine.

Information & Resources

Links to Resources

  2. BCIRPU iDOT, 2010-2013.
  3.  Rajabali F, Ibrahimova A, Barnett B, Pike I. (2015). Economic Burden of Injury in British Columbia. BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit: Vancouver, BC.