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Thread: Think First's aim: Prevent diving injuries

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    Think First's aim: Prevent diving injuries

    Think First's aim: Prevent diving injuries


    Special to The Clarion-Ledger

    Mississippi already has seen the first diving accidents of the year, and it's likely there will be more as the weather heats up.

    Safety tips


    There are a lot of variables to consider when diving. Each pool and natural body of water is different, but keep in mind these general tips:

    Go in slowly and feet first the first time. Preferably every time.

    The American Red Cross recommends having at least 9 feet of water if you are diving from the side of a pool and at least 12 feet if you are diving from a board. Six feet is the absolute minimum for diving, according to the Red Cross.

    Adults should check the water before allowing children to go in.

    Check natural bodies of water for brambles, rubbish and muddy bottoms in which a person can be trapped or caught.

    For more information about spinal cord injuries or Think First programs, go to www.methodistonline.org.
    But that doesn't have to be the case, said Lauren Fairburn, Think First coordinator for Methodist Rehabilitation Center.

    Think First, the hospital's statewide injury-prevention program, covers a variety of safety topics in school assemblies across the state. Careful diving and swimming are components of the Think First message.

    "We always tell children feet first, first time. That means they should walk into the water to make sure it's deep enough," Fairburn said. "If you are swimming in a creek or lake, you should check the depth and make sure there are no rocks or logs, or other objects, you could strike your head on. You have to check it every time you go swimming, especially with a natural body of water because the conditions can change."

    "We suggest no diving, but if you are going to do it make sure you check the depth the first time," said Ellen Lee, spinal cord injury program director at Methodist Rehab. "So many people in Mississippi swim in creeks and lakes and the depth changes from season to season. And you just never know what's under the water."

    Diving accidents account for about 10 percent of all spinal cord injuries each year and about 60 percent of recreational spinal cord injuries.

    The damage occurs at a high level on the spinal cord, usually the neck, and that carries with it a higher level of paralysis and more complications.

    "Generally it does result in a more severe level of injury," Lee said. "Most of the time this results in quadriplegia and the higher the injury, of course, the more complicated it becomes."

    In addition to paralysis of the hands, arms and legs, this type of injury can include respiratory problems ranging from temporary to permanent dependence on a ventilator.

    These accidents can also include brain injuries - either from the initial blow, or loss of oxygen to the brain immediately after the injury while the person is still underwater.

    So many of the injuries treated at Methodist Rehabilitation Center are the result of accidents that could have been prevented with some simple precautions, Fairburn said.

    "That's the premise of Think First - simple measures anyone can take, even young children, to protect themselves."


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    http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0306/12/m12.html

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    More chance of spinal cord injury in summer

    More chance of spinal cord injury in summer



    [ More News > More chance of spinal cord injury in summer ]

    More chance of spinal cord injury in summer

    Susan Aldridge, PhD

    Summertime recreations, like diving, lead to an increase in the risk of spinal cord injury say doctors at the University of Michigan.
    Take care when you're out and about in the summer months, because accidents might cause spinal cord injury. When the backbone suffers trauma, the spinal cord inside becomes swollen and bruised. Messages can no longer pass from the brain to the body. And the higher up the injury, the more the body will be affected.

    Injuries in the neck area can lead to quadriplegia - paralysis of the arms and legs. Injuries lower down may lead to loss of power in the legs. At the University of Michigan, they treat many people with spinal cord injury, doing their best to make the most of any power that it left in the body (injury to the cord is not always complete, which means the damage may be limited). Research may produce a cure for spinal cord injury in the future - perhaps based on cell therapies. But for now, the University of Michigan doctors want to help those affected to maximize their quality of life and remain useful members of society. They note that most spinal cord injuries result from an impulsive action. So take care! For instance, do not dive unless you can see the bottom of the pool (it should be a minimum of nine feet deep) and wear proper safety gear for other sports.


    Source
    University of Michigan Health System 5th June 2003

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