Shark attacks continue on the Carolina coast, but don’t panic about your trip to the beach — you’re actually in more danger just walking on shore than in the water.
In June 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter to the editor entitled “Sudden Death from Collapsing Sand Holes,” where Bradley Maron of Harvard Medical School assembled “52 documented fatal and nonfatal cases, occurring primarily in the past 10 years, in which persons were submerged after the collapse of a dry-sand hole excavated for recreational purposes.” Over that same period there were 12 shark attacks.
According to the International Shark Attack File, a compilation of all known shark attacks that is administered by the the American Elasmobranch Society and the Florida Museum of Natural History, there were 52 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in the United States (including Hawaii) last year. Using 320 million people as an estimate of the American population and the basic assumption that everyone has an equal risk, the average American has a 1 in 6,153,846 chance of being attacked by a shark in a given year.
You are more likely to be a part of something special in sports.
The U.S. women’s national soccer team scored four goals in 16 minutes in its win over Japan in the Women’s World Cup final. That was more than 1,200 times more likely than being attacked by a shark.
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) July 7, 2015
You have about a 1 in 662,000 chance of taking home Olympic gold in your life.
If you played baseball in high school, your chances of getting drafted by a MLB team is 1 in 584. Once in the majors, you are more likely to pitch a perfect game (1 in 101,729 chance) facing a lineup of average hitters than being attacked by a shark. A hitter is more likely to hit for the cycle (once every 23,000 games).
College football players have a 1 in 266 chance at playing in the NFL.
Alex Ovechkin, the NHL’s most prolific scorer, has a 1 in 5,000 chance at scoring an Ovechtrick — nine goals in a game — on any given night.
If you decide to try your luck at the World Series of Poker, you have a 1 in 650,000 chance of being dealt the game’s rarest hand, a royal flush.
There are some sporting events that make a shark attack appear to be short odds, like seeing LeBron James hit a quadruple double.
There have been four quadruple doubles in the NBA — a performance in which a player accumulates a double digit number total in four of five statistical categories in a game — the last accomplished by David Robinson in 1994. Based on his 2014-15 stats, James had a 1 in 2.1 billion chance at getting the fifth.
Also, you’re more likely to experience a shark attack than you are picking a perfect March Madness bracket which carries a one in 9.2 quintillion chance. That’s one billion, 9.2 billion times.