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Playing It Safe: Activity Ratings Chart

On this page, you can access an interactive chart of activity safety ratings with descriptions, and a downloadable PDF of the full Playing It Safe booklet.”

Before You Start
Once you’ve selected activities that best suit you, meet with your healthcare provider for an evaluation.

About the Ratings
With the color-coded chart, you can see the level of risk involved in the particular activity you are considering. The risk of participation in a specific activity will vary, depending on how you choose to play.

Activities are rated on a scale from 1 to 3. Descriptions of each activity consist of an Overview (O), Risks (R), and Safety Measures (S).

Activitysort descending Range

Diving, Competitive

O– Diving may help improve flexibility, strength, balance and
overall fitness.
R– Competitive diving is a high-collision sport with potential for serious
head and neck injury. A diver on a 10-meter platform enters the water
at about 40 miles per hour. Injuries can occur from hitting the board/
platform and from overuse injuries, such as frequent jumping, back
arching, trunk flexion and back twisting. They can also occur when
divers enter the water.
S– If diving competitively, diving from a lower platform improves safety.

Diving, Recreational

O– Diving may help improve flexibility, strength, balance and
overall fitness.
R– Recreational diving injuries often result from diving into shallow water.
S– Safety tips to minimize risk include never diving into shallow water or
water that isn’t clear enough for you to see obstacles. If you’re unsure,
always jump in feet first. Also, only allow one person on a diving board
at a time.

Elliptical Machine (Training Equipment)

O– This machine is a combination of an exercise bike, stepper and ski
machine, with some treadmill attributes. Some have poles to add
an upper body workout. Elliptical trainers provide a low-impact and
cardiovascular workout, while lessening stress on the joints.
R– Minimal risk.
S– Practice proper form by keeping correct posture: shoulders back,
head up, chin straight, abdominals tight and arms relaxed. Rest hands
lightly on the handrails to help with balance (or use the workout bars
if available). Try not to lean forward or grip the bars tightly. If needed,
lower the resistance level.


O– Fishing types are variable and can include; saltwater fishing, such as
deep sea fishing or surf fishing; freshwater fishing, such as boat fishing
or fly fishing; and ice fishing. Each type of fishing may require different
knowledge, and provides a different experience.
R– Because fishing is practiced in different environments (pier, boat, ocean,
rocky coastline, ice, river), risk will be different for each specific location.
S– Think about safety precautions each time you decide where to fish.
These include: protection from the elements and insects, and appropriate
clothing and shoes. Use safe handling techniques with fishing knives, and
when baiting, removing hooks and handling fish. Carry emergency/safety
gear, use life jackets and follow boating safety procedures. In case of a
storm, head to shore if you can.
Remember, you need a license even for catch-and-release fishing. Each state
has regulations about fishing licenses and daily limits.

Football, Flag or Touch

O– Flag and touch football are alternative options to tackle football
and carry less risk. Playing flag football and touch football has
cardiovascular benefits and can improve agility.
R– Although the sport does not include tackling, there is still a risk for
collision between players, and injuries from light contact or falls.
S– Improve safety by participating in flag football or touch football
in a supervised setting.

Football, Tackle

O– Football encourages teamwork. Playing football has cardiovascular
benefits and can improve agility.
R– Football is a high-contact, high-collision sport with potential for
serious traumatic injury to the head, neck, spine and extremities.
Overuse injuries can occur. However, traumatic injury and concussion
are by far the most common. Traumatic injury in a person with a
bleeding disorder can be life-threatening.
S– If you choose to play, speak with your healthcare providers prior to
starting the activity. Wear protective gear and avoid playing positions
with heavy tackling.

Frisbee®, Ultimate

O– Ultimate is played by two teams of 7 players with a flying disk on
a field with end zones, similar to a football field. Players score by
catching a pass in the opponent’s end zone. Ultimate is a limitedcontact
team sport that can be played recreationally or competitively.
Participants run, cut, guard, jump, throw, catch and dive in order to
catch the disk.
R– Frequent cutting moves, physical contact and jumping are risk factors
for injury. Jumping, cutting and diving maneuvers carry the highest
injury risk, especially for the knee and ankle.28
S– To improve safety, players should train for aerobic conditioning to
support the need for constant running during a game.


O– Participating in gymnastics can help improve strength and flexibility.
R– Young gymnasts whose bodies are still growing and developing are at
increased risk of injury due to their immature bones and joints, as well
as the stress associated with repeated twisting, flipping and landing.
The more difficult the routine (jumping dismounts or aerial moves), the
higher the risk of injury. Injuries most commonly occur in the low back,
ankles, feet, knees, wrists, hands, often from overuse. Of greater concern
for people with bleeding disorders is the inherent risk of traumatic injury,
concussion and/or a bleed resulting from a blow to the head during a fall.
S– Maximize safety by using proper technique and wearing recommended
safety gear, such as wrist guards, hand grips, footwear and knee/elbow/
heel pads. Make sure all equipment is in good working condition. Use
safety harnesses and spotters when learning new skills. Look for a wellsupervised
setting that includes proper instruction and good spotting.

High Intensity Functional Training (Incl. CrossFit®) Class

O– These programs have been shown to significantly improve
cardiovascular fitness, while decreasing the percentage of body
fat. HIFT includes programs like CrossFit®, a core strength and
conditioning program composed of movements that are constantly
varied at high intensity.
R– Injury rates are variable, just as the style of training is variable.
However, injury rates have been reported as high as nearly 75%.
Power lifting and Olympic lifting exercises, two main components
of the CrossFit® program, have high risk of injury.
S– Participants are less likely to be injured when coaches are monitoring
and correcting form. As with any strengthening program, proper form
is key to injury prevention. Learn the skill before adding any weight.
Use modifications as needed, especially with activities that may stress
areas of previous injury or bleeds.


O– Hiking typically involves a long walk on dedicated paths or trails that may have sharp inclines or varied, rugged terrain. Walking is one of the lowest impact activities, allowing the cardiovascular benefits of other aerobic activities, without the stress, strain and pounding that come with high-impact activity. Hiking can be a good social experience when done in groups, and it is an excellent lifetime activity. Equipment needs vary according to the duration, distance, terrain and the environment. Equipment can include hiking boots and walking poles.
R– Aerobic effort, impact, balance and muscular workout increase with more challenging terrain and weight carried in a backpack.
S– While overall risk is low, make sure to only hike on terrain that is appropriate for your ability.

Hockey, Field/Ice/Street

O– Hockey is a team sport, played on various surfaces, such as ice rinks,
and on grass and pavement.
R– Often, hockey played as a younger child carries less risk of high-impact,
high-collision injuries. However, there is still a risk for traumatic injuries
from the puck or ball, as well as collisions with rink barriers, hockey sticks
or players, or the ground. The rate of injury increases along with the size
and the speed of players, and when checking is part of the game.
S– Hockey carries less risk at a lower competitive level when participants
wear the proper safety gear and play under supervision. If you choose
to play, always wear a helmet, padding and appropriate safety gear.

Horseback Riding

O– Horseback riding can be safe for people with bleeding disorders,
depending on how they participate.
R– The risk associated with horseback riding varies with the type of riding
performed. For example, therapeutic horseback riding or going on a
trail ride with trained staff carry less risk. Alternatively, galloping across
rugged terrain, racing or jumping carry higher risks of injury. Most
horseback riding injuries occur when a rider falls or is thrown from
a horse. Serious injuries may also result from horse kicks. The most
common injuries are ankle sprains, wrist injuries to bones and/or
ligaments, and head injuries, including concussions.
S– To promote safety, stables should be well maintained and staffed with
trained professionals who provide proper horse care (feeding, shoeing,
etc.). Riders should never walk behind a horse or make sudden movements
or loud noises. They should not ride horses with unknown temperaments.
Riders should always be supervised by trained staff. A trained professional
should safety check all equipment prior to riding, including the girth or
cinch, stirrup leathers, stirrups and reins. Stirrup length should be adjusted
to fit each rider. A hard, well-fitting helmet should always be worn. Helmet
use has reduced the rate of traumatic brain injuries by 40%-50%. Sturdy
riding boots should have a short heel and cover the ankle.

Indoor Cycling Class

O– Indoor cycling class is an indoor group ride on stationary bicycles
with energizing music led by an instructor. Bikes are arranged so
that each participant can see the instructor. The workout is variable
and can include sprints, slower pedaling and added resistance to
simulate hills.
R– Injuries are more likely to occur during “jumps,” rapid pedaling and when performing arm exercises while pedaling.
S– To minimize injury, adjust your bike to fit your body. Maintain proper form and posture while exercising. Proper equipment is helpful and includes cycling shoes and padded shorts. For individual activity on an exercise bike, see Stationary Bike

JetSki® (Personal Watercraft, PWC)

O– Maneuvering a Jet Ski® requires balance and coordination, and also
provides a cardiovascular workout.
R– Operating a personal watercraft (PWC) involves straddling a vehicle similar
to a motorcycle and driving, potentially at high speeds, across the water.
This activity carries significant risks for anyone who participates, because
a major accident can result in serious, potentially life-threatening injuries.
The small size of PWCs makes it difficult for other boaters to see them.
Visibility is further impaired when the PWC is being driven at a high speed,
especially if the oncoming boat is also driving at a high speed. Accidents
may also result from driver inattention and the inability to predict a boater’s oncoming path.
In a collision, participants frequently break bones
in the head, neck, arms or legs, and/or may sustain traumatic brain injury
due to the sudden deceleration.
S– PWC drivers can minimize the risk of injury by following safety guidelines.
Anyone driving a PWC should complete a boater safety course. Wear a US
Coast Guard-approved life vest or personal flotation device. Always attach
the engine shut-off cord (lanyard) to the wrist and keep it free from the
handlebars so that the engine stops if the driver falls off. Ride within your
limits, stay alert to your surroundings and avoid aggressive driving. These
measures will help reduce the risk of losing control, being thrown off the
PWC and collision.

Jumping Rope

O– An excellent form of cardiovascular exercise with muscle toning
benefits, jumping rope can provide a vigorous workout. There are a
variety of footwork patterns that can be practiced that can also improve
agility and coordination. When performed with proper technique, this is
a relatively low-impact activity because you only jump high enough to
clear the rope (about one inch off the ground).
R– Because the activity is generally performed on the balls of the feet, this
may cause stress to the ankles of people with bleeding disorders who
have joint damage.
S– Minimize impact by wearing proper footwear and practicing on a wood or
rubberized surface versus a hard surface, such as concrete. Use a rope that
is the proper length to decrease the risk of falling.