With the exception of combat sports, which is the most brutal/violent?

Excluding combat sports such as wrestling, boxing, martial arts, etc, which sport do you think is the most violent (feel free to devise your own metrics for this - examples below)?

Ice hockey seems violent in terms of physical force - there’s a lot of slamming, barging, elbowing, etc.

Water Polo seems violent if measured by intent - although the physical injuries may not stack up as much as in other games, players hold each other under the water, gouge and scratch each other, etc.

What contenders would you propose for the most brutal or violent sport?


Concur, especially for the guys on the O-line and the D-line. Hockey has a lot of contact, but it’s not as full-body, all-on, every play, the way it is in football.

Double post by accident.

Rugby or Australian Rules Football.

Calcio Storico:



I mean ffs the “ball” is a dead goats carcass.

Soccer, if you count the audience.

Aussie Rules is a strong contender - to the layman, it seems there’s almost no concept of ‘foul’. I’d say it beats American football (because it’s played without much protective gear) and beats Rugby because it allows climbing over opponents, or tackling them in the upper body using your legs etc.

I nominate lacrosse. Also almost no concept of ‘foul’, and the players all have clubs.

Shinty and hurling are much the same - a hard ball, sticks/clubs being swung with abandon and until very recently a culture which derided helmets and mouthguards as “soft”. For example,this guy is complaining that too few players nowadays interpose their expendable body between a rapidly swinging stick and the ball their opponent is trying to hit with it. A quick google shows that shinty is a leading cause of eye injuries (and permanent vision impairment) in the Highlands, not to mention concussions, lost teeth, broken limbs etc.

Sounds like “Brockian Ultra Cricket”. Though no true Scotsman would apologize. :wink:

Ah, but as we are seeing, the helmet, the pads, and other gear is more illusion than actual protection.

Rodeo. One team doesn’t even consent to participate.

This is what I was gonna mention.

You can’t tackle above the shoulder, below the knee, in the back, after a mark has been taken, and a bunch of other rules forbidding contact..

Bullfighting. It’s, well,…just a little worse.

You guys never played “Smear the Queer” or “Red Rover”?


By what metric?

The metric I’d use is: “After a career as a professional athlete in this sport, how wrecked will your body be?”

Using this metric the answer is clearly american football.