Mental Floss

6 Sports Too Deadly for Gym Class

Jason Plautz
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Dodgeball takes a lot of knocks in gym class for being dangerous, but it's got nowhere near the death rate of these sports. Here's a look at six sports you wouldn't want your kids playing in gym class.

1. Pakistani Kite Flying

Every year Pakistanis celebrate the beginning of spring with Basant, a joyous festival with music, horses, flowers and kites. Well, actually, scratch the kites; they were banned by the Pakistani government. The tradition of flying kites competitively on Basant was resulting in a surprising number of deaths. Over the course of the festival, the Pakistanis created a tradition of not just flying the kites, but battling them. Bands on the streets would play whenever someone's kite strings were cut, which led to people replacing their kite string with razor wire to up their advantage. The competitive nature of the kite flying has led to a shocking number of deaths, from cuts from razor wire to people falling off roofs or being hit by stray bullets. After 9 deaths in 2004 and 20 in 2005, the Pakistani government established the kite-flying ban. Bowing to public opinion, the government lifted the ban for the 2007 Basant, but that only resulted in ten more deaths. With odds like those, Charlie Brown's probably lucky he never got his kite off the ground.

2. Pole Vaulting

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PoleVault-Edgerton.jpg /

3. Pro Wresting

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PLUS: Ivy League football (pre-1905), and more, after the jump!

4. The Dakar Rally

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dakar rally.jpg /

sounds like something straight out of a movie: it's an off-road race with few rules, tricked-out cars, plenty of danger and, once, the

disappearance of Margaret Thatcher's son

. The rally got its auspicious beginning in 1977 when racer Thierry Sabine got lost and decided it would be a good place to have a race. Since then, it's been held annually starting in Paris and ending in Dakar, Senegal (or some approximation of those cities). Even though it's legally sanctioned, there aren't many rules, which has resulted in a whopping 48 competitor deaths, or 1.7 every year. 2005 was a particularly deadly year, with five deaths, including a

five-year-old spectator

who ran onto the road. In 2007, the organizers established speed limits to curb the deaths, which did result in a successful race, even though less than half of the contestants even made it to the finish line.

5. Football, pre-1905

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flying wedge photo.jpg /

6. BASE Jumping

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base jump.jpg /
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