A study of injuries occurring in Olympic competition ranks fencing as having one of the lowest injury rates, making it one of the safest Olympic sports. Only 5 summer Olympic sports posted lower injury rates than fencing in this study of injuries from the 2008 Olympics. (Those were diving, synchronized swimming, rowing, kayak, and sailing.)

Fencing: One of the lowest injury rates. Graphic by Jen Christiansen, Illustrations by MCKIBILLO; Source: Lars Engebretsen, University of Oslo

At the Olympic Games, about 10% of Olympians typically suffer injuries in training or competition. The injuries can range from sprains all the way up to broken bones and ruptured tendons. [Full Graph]

A full study of the injuries from the 2008 Games by Lars Engebretron found the that highest fraction of injuries in competition occured in boxing (no surprise), water polo, hockey, handball, weight lifting, baseball and judo.

In the 2008 Summer Olympics, 9.6% of athletes were injured with the top 3 injuries being to the thigh, knee, and lower leg. 50% of the injuries prevented the athlete from competing or training and 27% of the injuries occurred during training.

According to the study abstract: “One third of the injuries were caused by contact with another athlete, followed by overuse (22%) and noncontact incidences (20%).”

In terms of incidence in sports, soccer and taekwondo topped the list of summer sports, with an injury rate of over 30% for soccer. Fencing’s injury rate fell to the opposite end of the spectrum, at close to 2.5%

Fencing remains one of the safest sports for kids and adults with injury rates far below those of the more popular sports.