Ready, set, hut!
When getting your game face on, remember your helmet, too. Football, one of the most popular sports in the U.S., is the third-most dangerous, with participants making 489,676 trips to the emergency room in 2010 [source: NEISS].
Not that a helmet is a sure-fire way to avoid a trip to the hospital. According to Johnson, the Michigan Tech professor, football helmets and pads change the nature of the game.
"It's important for athletes of all ages to understand that safety equipment like helmets and pads are a double-edged sword," Johnson said. "They provide protection, but they also make it possible for players to hit each other a lot harder" [source: Johnson].
And even with proper equipment, many players sustain concussions.
"A helmet is great protection against a fatal skull fracture, but it can't prevent a concussion, because a concussion happens when your brain bounces around inside your skull," Johnson said. "If you get hit hard enough, whether it's in the body or the head, your brain is going to get bumped around."
For our next sport, you're less likely to get a concussion, but it won't stop you from spraining an ankle as you drive up the court.