Rules in sports competitions generally try to keep one player or team from gaining an unfair advantage. In recent years, many sports have adopted rules aimed at preventing injuries as well. For good reason, fouls and dirty play in sports cause a significant number of injuries.

Data from injuries in nine high school sports that occurred across the United States over a two-year period showed some startling statistics about injuries resulting from illegal activity.

• Over 6% of injuries in all sports were caused by illegal activity
• Girls’ basketball, girls’ soccer and boys’ soccer have the highest rates of injuries from fouls
• Concussions comprised over one quarter of the injuries caused by fouls
• Over 10% of these injuries caused the athlete to miss the rest of the season
• Over 5% required surgery

Hockey injury from dirty play in sports

Also read:
Would eliminating dirty play decrease injuries in youth sports?
NFL officiating risking players’ safety

It might prove very difficult to completely eliminate dirty play in sports. Strict rule enforcement by referees and harsher penalties might cut down on some of these injuries in team sports.