5 Most Dangerous Recreational Sports (with the most ER visits)



First up on the list is less a sport and more of a recreational activity. But no matter what you call it, ATV riding is a risky pastime, sending nearly a quarter of a million fans of these all-terrain vehicles -- 230,666 to be exact -- to the hospital in 2010 [Source: NEISS].

Of recreational activities, all-terrain vehicles are a recent addition, growing in popularity since hitting the market in the 1970s.

In 2010, the Government Accountability Office prepared a report for Congress on ATVs. It found that the number in use went from about 3.6 million in 1999 to 10.2 million in 2008, an increase of about 183 percent [source: GAO].

But along with the popularity came a troubling issue: children riding adult-sized ATVs. The GAO found that in a majority of the cases, injuries to youths resulted from riding the larger vehicles. In an undercover operation it conducted in four states, the office found that seven out of 10 dealers were willing to sell adult-sized ATVs for use by children [source: GAO].

Orthopedic surgeon Jeffrey R. Sawyer has straightforward advice to avoid ATV mishaps. "The most important ways to prevent injury are adult supervision, helmets, protective clothing and age-appropriate vehicles," he said [source: AAOS].