Spectator injuries in sports

Academic Article


  • INTRODUCTION: Injury documentation and prevention has largely focused on the athletes participating in the sporting event. However, spectators are at risk for injury as well depending on the sport and venue. No study to date has recorded and analyzed spectator injuries in sports. The purpose of this study was to document spectator injuries across different sports. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: Scholarly articles and internet search engines were used to generate a list of spectator injuries across a variety of sports. Information gathered regarding each specific spectator injury included sport type, injury type, and injury mechanism. EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: A total of 181 spectator injuries were collected. The sport with the most spectator injuries found was automobile/motorcycle racing (N.=123), followed by cycling (N.=25), cricket (N.=12), baseball (N.=10), and hockey (N.=8). The majority of spectator injuries were related to the sport and not the behavior of the surrounding spectators. Among documented injuries sustained by spectators, automobile/motorcycle racing had the greatest number of mortalities (N.=38), followed by cycling (N.=17), hockey (N.=4), baseball (N.=2), and cricket (N.=1). CONCLUSIONS Although uncommon, spectators at sporting events are at risk for injury. Some of these injuries are serious and even fatal. Future work needs to focus on implementing safety measures to protect spectators while still allowing them to enjoy live sporting events.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Read C; Beaumont C; Isbell J; Dombrowsky A; Brabston E; Ponce B; Hale H; McCollough K; Estes R; Momaya AM
  • Start Page

  • 520
  • End Page

  • 523
  • Volume

  • 59
  • Issue

  • 3