Key Point

Sports and activities are classified by the risk of contact with other people or objects, and the force and frequency of the contact.

Talk with your health care provider before beginning involvement in any contact/collision activities. If you do participate, you’ll need to:

  • Use the proper equipment and safety gear.
  • Wear the helmet that was designed for a specific sport or activity.
  • Be supervised by an adult, teacher, coach, lifeguard or other qualified person, as recommended.
  • Be aware of signs and symptoms of a concussion, and never continue playing if you have a concussion.

Sports and activities are classified by the risk of contact with other people or with inanimate objects (such as equipment, water and the ground), and the force and frequency of the contact.

It is important to understand that unexpected contact might occur during any sport or activity. That contact might be dangerous and result in serious injuries.

Contact/Collision Sports and Activities

This category includes both collision and contact sports. In collision sports, the person purposely hits or collides with other people or objects with great force. Examples: boxing, ice hockey, football, lacrosse. In contact sports, the person is constantly making contact with other people or objects, but with less force than in collision sports. Examples: basketball, soccer. The risk in this category includes risk of hitting the ground or water with great force, which is why some individual sports, such as gymnastics and downhill skiing, are in this category.

Limited-Contact Sports and Activities

In limited-contact sports, the contact with other people or objects is infrequent or unintended. Usually there are specific rules or boundaries to prevent contact. The contact is usually with less force than in contact/collision sports.

Noncontact Sports and Activities

In noncontact sports, contact with another person or object is rare and unexpected.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.