Posted On: 10-12-2019

How Safe are Youth Shooting Sports?

Did you ever wonder just how safe your son or daughter will be participating in a sport with a FIREARM? There are all sorts of statistics regarding firearm related fatalities in the United States. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), all ages of accidental firearm fatalities have decreased by 74% in the last decade. Firearms are involved in less than 1.5% of accidental fatalities among children 14 years of age and under. Firearms safety and hunter education programs have been very successful in reducing the number of accidental firearm-related fatalities.

The most common fatalities for children are motor vehicle accidents, suffocation, drowning, fires, poisoning, choking and falls. According to the National Safety Council in 2017 there were 30 preventable/accidental deaths from firearms in the 5-14-year-old age group. In the 15-24-year-old age group there were 117. Those fatalities were not broken into cause. 

When it comes to sports injuries, trap and skeet shooting isn’t even on the charts. The most likely youth sports injuries are, in order, tackle football, skateboarding, basketball, soccer, bicycle riding, wrestling, baseball, softball, snowboarding, roller-skating, golf, water skiing, mountain biking, tennis, archery, running, bowling, then hunting. Trap and Skeet Injuries per 1,000 participants of all ages:  .1% (Source: American Sports Data, Inc)

The Missouri State High School Activities Association lists 15 recognized sports: Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Wrestling.

No research indicates that sport shooting is more likely to cause injury than any of these 15 high school sports.

More than likely, any injury involving a youth while shooting a shotgun, rifle, or bow and arrow would be from a pinched finger, tripping and falling, heat related, firearm malfunction or some other injury not at all related to the tool in use.

Nevertheless, youth shooters, coaches and parents should be always aware that safety comes first. Know the rules of the game, pay close attention to coaches’ instructions, and play the game with good attention to safety.

The 3 Simple Rules:

  1. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
  2. Keep the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  3. Keep the firearm unloaded until ready to use.

Jan Morris, Executive Director


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