WHY PROTECT YOUR SPINE?
are a serious problem in the water, usually associated with diving
head first and hitting the bottom. Spinal injury, perhaps more
than any other trauma injury, can have severe lifelong consequences
for the victim, parents, friends, and even rescuers, but most
SPINAL INJURIES ARE PREVENTABLE.
BAD BEACH DAY
injury at the beach, particularly a spinal injury, can result
in a very bad beach day.
SPINAL INJURY AVOIDANCE TIPS
To help ensure
you have only good beach days, we recommend
the following tips, as well as our many other safety
tips. It's also helpful to understand the
SPINE and its importance to the body.
- Swim near
with lifeguards on current conditions before swimming.
watch, and walk into the water.
dive headfirst into any unknown water.
dive toward the bottom into oncoming waves.
stand with your back to the waves.
jump or dive from a cliff, pier, jetty or bridge.
bodysurfing, bodyboarding or surfing straight "over the falls."
Ride the shoulder.
- In a "wipeout,"
land as flat as possible with your hands out in front of you.
bodysurfing, keep an arm out in front of you to protect your
head and neck.
- When in
doubt, DON'T DIVE, play it safe!
SIGNS OF AN INJURY
a spinal injury can include things other than paralysis, but they
require immediate attention. They include:
scrapes or cuts to the head or face
- Pain or
tenderness in the neck or back
or complete paralysis, difficulty breathing
in the arms and/or legs
and tingling in the arms and legs
IF SOMEONE IS INJURED
lifeguards or dial 9-1-1.
the injured person to "Hold still. Don't move anything!" Especially
their head and neck.
- If they
are standing or sitting, help them to try to maintain that position
without moving their head or neck until help arrives.
- If they
are in the water, do the best you can with available help to
keep the person still while maintaining an open airway.
HAVE A GOOD BEACH DAY
thanks the Trauma Research and Education Foundation for their
assistance in providing this information.