The dangers of diving

ATLANTA, Ga. (WIAT)- The official start of summer is Sunday, but millions of people across the country aren’t waiting to hit the water. Whether it’s a pool, lake, or ocean, diving is a popular activity; however, it can also be a dangerous one. “Each summer we have an epidemic of quadriplegic patients here,” said Dr. Herndon Murray, with Spinal Cord Injury Services at the Shepherd Center. “Young men who have broke their necks and are paralyzed in their arms and legs permanently, and the most common cause of that in summertime in the south, is diving.”

According to Dr. Herndon, nine months out of the year car wrecks are the leading cause of broken necks among men 14-29 years old. From June to August, diving overtakes car accidents. The problem spots aren’t limited to pools either. According to the Shepherd Center diving injuries occur:

36% in swimming pools

34% in oceans

16% in rivers

11% in lakes

3% in other

“I’ve heard it a thousand times, ‘I’ve been diving here all my life and I never imagined it would happen to me,” said Dr. Herndon, adding, “And that’s the problem; nobody ever thinks that dive is going to break their neck.”

Dr. Murray is spear-heading a campaign called “Don’t Dive, Go In Feet First.” He said, “You break your neck and damage your spinal cord, there’s nothing we can do to repair it. You’re back home, with your mother taking care of you for the rest of your life.” The campaign encourages just what the title says: for swimmers to eliminate head-first diving. Instead, the Shepherd Center recommends jumping in feet first. “We’ve taught kids not to go anywhere in the car without a seat belt on,” said Dr. Murray. “I think if we start out with parents warning kids about diving early on, that’ll hopefully carry on through their teenage years.”

blog comments powered by Disqus