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Many sports involve a degree of player-to-player and/or player-to-object contact. The term "contact sport" is used in both team sports and combat sports, 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.

Current medical terminology in the United States uses the term collision sport rather than contact sport to refer to rugby, American football, lacrosse, and ice hockey. The term contact sport is used to refer to sports, such as basketball and association football that allow limited contact. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2001 entitled "Medical Conditions Affecting Sports Participation" that included the following definitions:

This terminology may have evolved from a quote attributed to both Vince Lombardi and Duffy Daugherty: "Football isn't a contact sport; it's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport."

Contact sports have a higher risk of transmission of blood-borne disease between players.

Injuries & legal issues

Many sports will penalise contact with the rules for certain situations or instances to help reduce the incidence of physical trauma or litigation for assault or grievous bodily harm.

Equipment

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

The cost of equipment can be an obstacle to participating in many sports.

Social

There is a perception among some sections of western society toward full-contact sports being barbaric, prone to sporting violence, thuggery, and a cause injury. This has led to the phenomenon of the soccer mom and a general increase in sports with less contact.

There is a predicted trend away from participation in contact sports.

In some societies, contact in sports can have an influence on the attitudes of sex roles.

Trends

Because of the issues raised above, many sports are reducing their levels of contact.In recent years, very few sports governing bodies have encouraged aggression and rough play.

Grades

Full-contact

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

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

Examples of contacts sports are: Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union, American football, ice hockey, lacrosse, water polo, amateur wrestling, and team handball in Europe. Full-contact martial arts include boxing, MMA, taekwondo (under WTF rules), puroresu, jujutsu, Muay Thai, judo, and various forms of full contact karate. Also, kickboxing in the early seventies in the United Statesmarker was born which introduced a controlled version of full contact to martial arts.

Semi-contact

A semi-contact sport is typically a combat sport involving striking and which contains 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 Taekwondo (under ITF rules), amateur kick-boxing and various styles of Kung Fu that incorporate semi-contact rules sparring or Kendo with its use of extensive protective gear.

This category also includes sports that prohibit violent contact but contact is still allowed and occurs within the rules. Examples of this are Association Football and basketball.

Limited-contact

Limited-contact sports are sports in which the rules are specifically designed to prevent contact between players either intentionally or unintentionally. Although contact can still happen, strong penalties are often used to discourage all contact between players. These penalties, including physically removing players from the field of play, means that contact is generally rare.

Examples include baseball, netball, squash, running and ultimate frisbee.

Non-contact sports

Non-contact sports are sports where players are physically separated such as to make it nearly impossible for them to make contact during the course of a game.Examples include all forms of tennis, cricket, darts, bowling, volleyball, netball, swimming, and squash.

However, there is still opportunity for 'indirect' contact, such as being hit with a ball, whether deliberatly or not. Most notably with cricket, bowlers can bowl bodyline or bouncers, balls intended to hit another player.

On January 27, 2009, the Wisconsin Supreme Courtmarker ruled that cheerleading is a contact sport.

References


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