You don't have to be a fan to understand high school football has significant injury risks, but a much different sport is actually the most dangerous on average for athletes.

Gymnastics is the sport with the most injuries per competitor, according to a report by WCCO's Jason DeRusha. The Minneapolis TV station quotes research from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research that shows during the past 25 years, almost 2 out of 100,000 male gymnasts were paralyzed, while 0.89 of female gymnasts suffered the same tragic fate.

Hockey players aren't far behind. Research reports 1.38 of hockey players per 100,000 have been paralyzed during the past 25 years.

If you've got a daughter, she's at the most risk from cheerleading. WCCO reports that two girls have died and almost 30 were permanently disabled while taking part in competitive cheerleading.

But research shows football is still far and away the most deadly.

More than 110 high school athletes have lost their lives playing football, while 331 suffered permanent life changing damage since 1982. A total of 11 hockey players have been paralyzed compared to eight in gymnastics. Seven soccer played have died in that time period.

Keep in mind the number of athletes who compete in football (more than 37 million) dwarfs those who participate in ice hockey (more than 800,000) and gymnastics (less than 800,000).

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