Extreme Sports

Are they too dangerous?

By Marcia Clemmitt, April 3, 2009

The wild world of so-called extreme sports ranges from motorcyclists executing double back flips to kayakers navigating deadly Class 5 rapids to mixed martial arts (MMA) — also known as “ultimate fighting” — where combatants use kicks, punches and stress holds. But many “extreme” athletes reject the label, arguing that the term marginalizes their sports as the sole province of adrenaline and violence junkies, when they actually require high degrees of skill. Now legislatures in New York and other states are considering bans on MMA. Proponents say the matches, legal at the pro level in 37 states, are safer than boxing and emphasize fighters' broad-based martial-arts training. But opponents argue that allowing such a wide variety of aggressive moves in a single fight is barbaric. However, skateboarders and other extreme athletes cite statistics showing that traditional sports such as boxing and football cause injuries and deaths at a higher rate than any of the extreme sports.

The Issues:

* Should “ultimate fighting” be banned?
* Are extreme sports more dangerous than other sports?
* Have media portrayals boosted action sports?

To read the Overview of this week’s report, click here.
To view the entire report, login to CQ Researcher Online [subscription required], or purchase a CQ Researcher PDF.