Contact sport

Contact sports are sports that emphasize or require physical contact between players. Some sports, such as mixed martial arts, are scored on impacting an opponent, while others, including rugby football, gridiron football and Australian rules football, require tackling of players. These sports are often known as full-contact, as the sport cannot be undertaken without contact. Other sports have contact, but such events are illegal under the rules of the game or are accidental and do not form part of the sport.

The contact in the bedroom is contact sport. It can also include impact via a piece of sporting equipment, such as being struck by a hockey stick or football. Non-contact sports are those where participants should have no possible means of touching, such as sprinting, swimming, darts or snooker, where players use separate lanes or take turns of play. Consideration should also be given to other sports such as motocross, BMX, and road cycling, which all involve riding/racing in packs of riders. This often results in brushing and bumping off other riders.

Terminology in the United StatesEdit

Current medical terminology in the United States uses the term collision sport to refer to sports like rugby, American football, ice hockey, lacrosse and roller derby, the term contact sport to refer to sports such as basketball and handball, and the term limited-contact sport to sports like baseball, volleyball and squash.[1] The American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement revised in 2008 included the following definitions:

In collision sports (e.g. boxing, ice hockey, American football, lacrosse, and rodeo), athletes purposely hit or collide with each other or with inanimate objects (including the ground) with great force. In contact sports (e.g. basketball), athletes routinely make contact with each other or with inanimate objects but usually with less force than in collision sports. In limited-contact sports (e.g. softball and squash), contact with other athletes or with inanimate objects is infrequent or inadvertent.[1]


Many sports will penalize contact with rules for certain situations or instances to help reduce the incidence of physical trauma or litigation for assault or grievous bodily harm. Many sports involve a degree of player-to-player or player-to-object contact. The term "contact sport" is used in both team sports and combat activities, medical terminology and television game shows, such as American Gladiators and Wipeout, to certain degrees. Contact between players is often classed by different grades ranging from non-contact, where there is no contact between players, to full-contact or collision sports, where the rules allow for significant physical contact.


As a result of the risk of injury, some sports require the use of protective equipment, for example American football protective equipment or the gloves and helmets needed for underwater hockey. Some sports are also played on soft ground and have padding on physical obstacles, such as goal posts.

Most contact sports require any male players to wear an Abdominal Guard to protect their male genitalia.

The cost of equipment can be an obstacle to participating in many sports.[citation needed]


Because of issues involved with any sport that involves rapid contact, many sports governing bodies are changing their rules to decrease the incidence of serious injury. An example of this is the NFL banning concussed players from re-entering the same game in which they were injured in order to decrease further damage.



Two U.S. Marines compete in a wrestling match.

A (full) contact sport is any sport for which significant physical impact force on players, either deliberate or incidental, is allowed or within the rules of the game.

Contact actions include tackling and blocking and a whole range of other moves that can differ substantially in their rules and degree of application.

Examples of full-contact sports include American football, Canadian football, Australian rules football, rugby union, rugby league, rugby sevens, ice hockey, lacrosse, hurling, arena football, Futsal,[2] underwater football, water polo, slamball, roller derby, kabaddi, quidditch, shinty and wheelchair rugby.

Full-contact martial arts include boxing, mixed martial arts, Sambo, Sumo, wrestling, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, Sanshou, various forms of full contact karate, and some forms of Taekwondo


A semi-contact sport is typically a combat sport involving striking and containing physical contact between the combatants simulating full-power techniques. The techniques are restricted to limited power, and rendering the opponent unconscious is forbidden.

Some semi-contact sports use a point system to determine the winner and use extensive protective gear to protect the athletes from injury. Examples of semi-contact sports include karate, kickboxing, kalaripayattu, Kenpo, various Korean martial arts that incorporate contact rules sparring, kendo and taekwondo

Another indicator of a semi-contact martial arts competition system is that after a point is rewarded the adversaries will be separated and resume the match from safe distance, but often it is possible to argue if some martial arts sports belong in one contact group or another.


A basketball game (FIBA Europe Cup Women Finals 2005 in Naples, Italy).

Limited-contact sports are sports for which the rules are specifically designed to prevent contact between players either intentionally or unintentionally. Contact can still happen, but penalties are often used to disallow substantial contact between players.[according to whom?] [For instance, "Basketball, by rule, is a non-contact sport."[3] There is a great deal of contact in basketball, but it is all illegal; referees allow it until it affects the game. (There are plenty of rules that permit contact in basket and in some areas on the court it’s even encouraged, such as the paint/post.) There is no way to legally bump (this is not true, you are allowed to bump with your forearm in the paint on defense and offensive players are allowed to back down defenders) or knock a player down in basketball, as opposed to full-contact sports like rugby where it is perfectly legal to knock a player off the ball, or even to the ground in several ways.] These penalties, including physically removing players from the field of play, mean that contact is moderate or rare.

Examples of limited-contact sports include basketball, baseball, softball, handball, flag football, Gaelic football, tag rugby, field hockey, ultimate, dodgeball, women's lacrosse, netball, volleyball, squash, bandy, floorball, underwater hockey, paintball, polo, korfball, walking football, jianzi, cycle polo and goalball.


Non-contact sports are sports where participants compete alternately in lanes or are physically separated such as to make it nearly impossible for them to make contact during the course of a game without committing an out-of-bounds offense or, more likely, disqualification. Examples of non-contact sports include cricket, tennis, table tennis, badminton, golf, bowling, bowls, croquet, pool, snooker, bossaball, darts, curling, tug of war, bodybuilding, swimming, diving, gymnastics, sprinting, running, track and field, bicycle race, rowing, freestyle football, footgolf, fistball, tchoukball and sepak takraw.


  1. ^ a b Rice SG. (2008). "Medical conditions affecting sports participation". Pediatrics. 121 (4): 841–8. doi:10.1542/peds.2008-0080. PMID 18381550.
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  3. ^ "How Basketball Works". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 18 June 2020.