or first-time Waikiki surfers,
repeatedly arching the back for
hours in rare instances restricts
blood to the spine
Myelopathy warning signs
By Helen Altonn
Sherwin Hiraoka said he had "the time of my life" when he rented a longboard and surfed for the first time at Waikiki Beach.
Dr. James Pearce would like to hear from anyone who thinks he or she had surfer's myelopathy after the first time out on the board. Call 522-4476.
But his first waves were also his last.
Hiraoka, now 26, didn't have an accident during his August 2002 outing, yet he still suffered a rare spinal-cord injury that Straub Clinic & Hospital doctors have named "surfer's myelopathy."
Dr. James Pearce, a Straub neurologist, said the potentially debilitating injury is associated with first-time surfers. Pearce sees several cases a year and said the patients all come from Waikiki and have a similar story.