Fatalities among professional athletes

August 17, 2004

From 1992 to 2002, there were a total of 219 fatal work injuries involving professional athletes, a figure representing less than 1 percent of all workplace fatalities. However, over the same period the fatality rate for athletes was 22.0 fatal work injuries per 100,000 workers, a rate more than 4-1/2 times that of all workers.

Distribution of activities related to fatal occupational injuries among professional athletes, 1992-2002
[Chart data—TXT]

Just over a third (37.4 percent) of the deceased athletes were performing a task associated with automobile or motorcycle racing (such as driving or flagging) when they were killed. Decedents who were participating in water activities (diving, swimming, and boating) accounted for just less than one quarter (23.3 percent) of the fatalities.

In addition, 16 percent of the athletes were killed working with horses or bulls and about 6 percent were killed in some form of pugilism such as boxing, kickboxing, or wrestling.

The information in this report is a product of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. For additional information, see "Fatal Occupational Injuries to Athletes, 1992-2002," in Compensation and Working Conditions Online, July 2004.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatalities among professional athletes on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2004/aug/wk3/art02.htm (visited September 27, 2016).


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