More Than 7 Million Injuries Were Caused by Outdoor Activities in the Past Two Years

More Than 7 Million Injuries Were Caused by Outdoor Activities in the Past Two Years

Warming weather and expiring quarantines could fuel an increase in injuries across the country as people return to popular summer pastimes.

A sense of optimism beckons, as states across the country begin to ease lockdown restrictions just in time for summer. However, ValuePenguin found that a return to normalcy carries inherent risks.

As people begin to leave their houses and integrate back into their communities, they could sustain injuries out of the home. Over the past two years, more than 7 million people have been injured while playing sports and working outside. In most cases, the people injured are men and boys.

While the sources of outdoor injuries are often mundane, overlooking these ever-present risks could be costly for homeowners, especially if they lead to hospitalizations of others. Being the subject of even one lawsuit can substantially increase the cost to insure your home and cast a shadow on your summer fun.

Key findings

1.Sports account for about two-thirds of the hospitalizations that occur outside the home, resulting in 2.3 million injuries in 2019.

2.Basketball is the most dangerous activity for most people, injuring more than 839,000 people since in the last two years — with more than one-fifth of these cases involving an ankle injury.

3.Although football-related injuries have declined by more than 27% since 2015, head injuries and concussions haven't fallen by nearly as much.

4.Yard work and home improvement projects caused 775,000 injuries last year, usually resulting in damage to the eyeballs and fingers.

5.Just one liability claim could raise your home insurance premium by almost 30%.

Table of contents

Sports injuries account for nearly two-thirds of the total hospitalizations that occur from injuries outside of the home, with men more disproportionately affected than women.

There were about 3.7 million hospitalizations stemming from outdoor injuries in 2019. The majority of these cases, about 61%, can be attributed to playing sports. Additionally, men and boys are far more likely to be injured out of the home than women and girls. Only 33% of the injuries that women and girls experienced in the last year happened outside.

Basketball and bicycling are responsible for the most sports-related injuries of any outdoor event, especially for younger people. More than 839,000 injuries occurred during basketball games in the past two years. Basketball players are most likely to experience an ankle injury, with more than 75,000 fractures and sprains occurring in 2019 alone.

Despite its violent nature, football was responsible for fewer injuries in the past year than basketball and biking. Since 2015, the total number of football-related injuries have declined from 400,000 to 292,000. However, we found that concussions only decreased by 17% in the same time period. Moreover, concussions have consistently made up at least 50% of all head injuries sustained from football since 2015.

Graph of which sports cause the most injuries

Although Americans should be aware of how outdoor activities can lead to injuries, it's possible the number of hospitalizations will drop in 2020 compared to previous years. Stay-at-home orders, self-isolation and quarantines have sheltered most Americans for a quarter of the year. We predict injuries from outdoor activities could decrease by more than 92,000 compared to 2019.

Yard work and home improvement projects contributed to more than 775,000 injuries in the last year, with more than one-third related to the eyes and fingers.

Sports aren't the only source of outdoor-related injuries. Even routine work around the house could be dangerous for some, usually young adults and middle-aged people. In 2019, more than 775,000 injuries were related to housework, and 300,000 of these resulted from working in the yard.

Most injuries that occur in the yard can be attributed to high-power tools used to cut grass or perform other landscaping work, such as lawn mowers, chainsaws and trimmers. In 2019, these instruments resulted in more than 125,000 injuries, mostly to the eyes and fingers.

A graph showing how people hurt around the home

While the number of outdoor injuries may fall in 2020, those attributable to indoor-related activities may rise. Even before Americans were isolated inside, many people expected to perform home repairs and projects in the year ahead. In fact, 77% of people planned to undertake home improvement projects — an increase of 4% from a year ago.

The most common causes of home improvement-related injuries in 2019 were ladders and stools. These resulted in more than 37,000 head injuries and 16,000 upper-body fractures in the last year. It's more likely that your fingers and eyes will suffer from work around the home. In 2019, housework was to blame for more than 165,000 finger lacerations and 54,000 eye injuries.

Your post-quarantine summer cookout could triple your homeowners insurance premiums if you're on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

As quarantines wind down in states across the country and people start to hold summer cookouts and parties, homeowners might consider purchasing more liability coverage to protect their financial assets in case of a lawsuit, especially if they have high-risk property, such as a swimming pool or a trampoline.

In 2019, more than 300,000 hospitalizations were caused by injuries sustained while swimming and using a trampoline. Pools accounted for about 10% of the total outdoor injuries. For many homeowners, these types of injuries could raise the cost of their home insurance significantly if they result in litigation.

While your homeowners insurance includes personal liability protection that pays for legal defenses and settlements if you face a lawsuit, these claims can come with a price hike once it's time to renew your policy.

A graph showing how your making liability claims affects the price of your insurance

Adding more liability coverage to your home insurance policy could save you a lot of money in the long run. Tripling your basic liability coverage with State Farm from $100,000 to $300,000 only results in a $15 increase to your annual premium. However, we found that just one prior liability claim can increase premiums by an average of almost $400.


This study utilizes data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, which estimates the total number of product-related injuries in U.S. hospitals. The data we analyzed includes breakdowns for age, sex, product type and injury diagnoses.

For our study of how insurance claims affect your rates, our analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst is a Data Writer at ValuePenguin who reports on insurance. His analysis has been featured in Forbes, MSN, USA News and Fox News, among others. He's also appeared in interviews broadcast by ABC and the CW. He previously taught composition and research at Wright State University.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.