The Worst Injuries in Extreme Sports

People can’t seem to get enough of extreme sports, and participation has dramatically increased over the past few years. Extremes athletes are constantly pushing themselves to the limits in ways no one would have ever dreamed imaginable. As the level of risk increases, so does the frequency and severity of injuries.


Extreme sports can be very dangerous. Here are some examples of people who have died doing the sports they loved.

  • Professional snowmobiler Caleb Moore was the first athlete to die of injuries sustained during the X Games. At the 2013 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, he attempted a backflip on his snowmobile. The snowmobile’s skis got stuck, which propelled him over the handlebars. He was hit by the snowmobile upon landing. Moore was airlifted to an area hospital, but his condition did not improve. After being unconscious for a week, he succumbed to his injuries.
  • Journalist Michael Ybarra not only wrote about extreme sports, but was also an active participant. Ybarra was an experienced mountain climber and died in 2012 when he fell 200 feet attempting to scale Yosemite’s Sawtooth Ridge.
  • In March of 2012, Canadian freestyle skier Nik Zoricic fell and sustained life ending head injuries at a World Cup event in Switzerland.
  • 29 year old X Games snowboarding champion and Canadian Olympic hopeful Sarah Burke died in January of 2011. She fell and hit her head on a half-pipe course and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
  • Big wave surfer Sion Milosky drowned in 2011 while trying to surf a mammoth 60 foot wave in Northern California. It knocked him off his board and he was held under the water by another gigantic wave that followed immediately after.
  • American Jeremy Lusk, a freestyle motor cross X Games gold medalist, crashed and died during a competition in Costa Rica in 2009. He was not able to completely rotate his bike during a flip and fell head first into a ramp.

BASE Jumping is considered one of the riskiest sports on the planet. It involves jumping off structures such as bridges, buildings, and cliff and using a parachute to stop the fall. If the parachute does not open, there is virtually no time to react and death is all but assured. Approximately one person dies for every 2,317 jumps. French BASE jumper Antoine Montant died in 2011 when his parachute failed to open during a jump.

Career Ending Injuries

Certain injuries may not be serious enough to kill, but they can end careers and dramatically impact how athletes are able to live their lives. British BMX biker Stephen Murray crashed trying to complete a back flip in 2007 at a competition in Baltimore. He landed on his head and broke his neck. Murray endured several surgeries in an attempt to fix his crushed vertebrae, but is paralyzed from the neck down.

Whether it’s a snowboarder attempting a seemingly impossible jump or a surfing trying to ride a wave the size of a skyscraper, it can be difficult to understand what motivates extreme sports athletes to risk life and limb on a regular basis. The only logical explanation is they love what they do and the adrenaline rush it provides. Most of these issues can be avoided by having the proper safety equipment for whatever sport you are participating in.