First national study of diving-related injuries

Aug 04, 2008

If it's at the Olympic Games or at the neighborhood pool, diving is one of the fastest growing sports in this country. Every day millions of people do it and every four years during the Olympics, billions of people watch it. So it might surprise you that researchers are just now delving into the dangers of diving boards.

Chelsea Davis will tell you that competing at the highest levels of diving takes persistence. Day after day, dive after dive. No matter how hard she works to get it right even an experienced diver like Chelsea knows how quickly it can all go wrong. At the World Championships in 2005, Chelsea hit her head on the diving board and landed in the glare of the media.

"My nose was broken in about ten place, and I fractured my cheek bone and I sprained my neck," says Chelsea.

It was one terrifying example of something that happens every day, more often than many of us might think.

"Every year in this country, approximately 6,500 children are treated in emergency departments for diving related injury," says Gary Smith, MD at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

On average that's an injury an hour in the U.S., every hour of every day that most pools are open. According to a study just published in the journal Pediatrics, kids between the ages of 10 and 14 are the most likely to get hurt diving,* and boys are taken to the hospital twice as often as girls. Experts say it's not the high risk, high dives that are to blame.

"More than 80% of the dive injuries were from a dive height of less than or equal to one meter. So, that is not the highest dive, that's not a platform dive, this is the lowest dive height available at the pool," says Lara McKenzie, PhD, Nationwide Children' Hospital.

Lara McKenzie is senior author of the study, the first of its kind in the U.S. Surprising, given the popularity of diving. There are now more than 20 thousand competitive divers under the age of 18 in this country* and millions of others who dive for fun. All of whom, McKenzie says, may want to learn more about the sport to lessen their chances of injury.

Experts say most people are hurt trying to do flips off of diving boards, especially back flips*. If your child wants to learn how to do them, try to enroll them in a program with a qualified instructor, and be sure they only use a diving board when a life guard is on duty.

Citation: Diving Related Injuries in Children <20 Years Old Treated in Emergency Departments in the United States: 1990-2006, Pediatrics Volume 122, Number 2, August 2008

Source: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Explore further: Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

Related Stories

Cuban, US scientists bond over big sharks

Jul 03, 2015

Somewhere in the North Atlantic right now, a longfin mako shark—a cousin of the storied great white—is cruising around, oblivious to the yellow satellite tag on its dorsal fin.

Nemo's garden off Italy offers hope for seabed crops

Jun 30, 2015

In the homeland of pesto, a group of diving enthusiasts have come up with a way of growing basil beneath the sea that could revolutionise crop production in arid coastal areas around the world.

Saturn spacecraft to buzz icy moon Dione June 16

Jun 16, 2015

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will make a close flyby of Saturn's moon Dione on June 16, coming within 321 miles (516 kilometers) of the moon's surface. The spacecraft will make its closest approach to Dione ...

Recommended for you

Noise from fireworks threatens young ears

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The Fourth of July weekend is a time for celebrations and beautiful fireworks displays. But, parents do need to take steps to protect their children's ears from loud fireworks, a hearing expert ...

Many new teen drivers 'crash' in simulated driving task

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Around four in 10 newly licensed teen drivers "crashed" in a simulated driving test, suggesting that many adolescents lack the skills they need to stay safe on the road, according to a new study.

Insurer Aetna to buy Humana in $35B deal

19 hours ago

Aetna will spend about $35 billion to buy rival Humana and become the latest health insurer bulking up on government business as the industry adjusts to the federal health care overhaul.

Feeling impulsive or frustrated? Take a nap

21 hours ago

Taking a nap may be an effective strategy to counteract impulsive behavior and to boost tolerance for frustration, according to a University of Michigan study.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.