The heat of summer is here, and most of us are ready to dive into the nearest pool to cool off.
But before jumping head first into those refreshing waters, using your brain can help prevent your summer from becoming a bummer. Carlos Moreno, an assistant professor of occupational therapy at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, cautions everyone, especially parents to be aware of the risks involved with this summer tradition.
“When individuals dive into pools, even if they’re not too shallow, it is possible they will hit the bottom,” Moreno said. “That impact has the potential to cause a spinal cord injury and/or brain injury.”
The National Spine Cord Injury Statistical Center, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, ranks diving accidents as the fourth highest cause of spinal injuries for men and fifth highest for women.
Moreno advises parents to be mindful of their children’s abilities and behaviors.
“Diving accidents happen more frequently amongst teenagers through young adults, especially with males,” Moreno said. “Male teenagers have the highest percentage of injuries for spinal cord injury from diving accidents because they’ll dive and think they’re not going to get hurt.”
Individuals who suffer spinal cord injuries from diving run the risk of becoming quadriplegic, or unable to move or feel sensation beneath the neck, with additional risks of being restricted to assisted breathing, and a significantly decreased life expectancy.
The brain can also sustain injuries in a diving accident that can require years of hospitalization and recovery, or can even result in death.
“If an individual’s head hits the bottom of the pool, many times there will be a brain injury,” said Moreno. “And the brain injury is due to either the skull being crushed, or the impact being so strong, it creates a whiplash effect, where the brain hits the skull, then bounces back and hits the skull in the back, creating injury in two areas.”
Moreno offers these tips to swimmers hoping to dive into summer safely:
No one should swim alone. Regardless of the age group, everyone should have a “swimming buddy” that not only can make the experience more fun, but be available in the event of an emergency.
2. Check the Depth of the Pool
Diving should only be allowed in the deep end of the pool, which must be at least nine feet deep.
3. Avoid Steep Dives
Swimmers diving with a steep trajectory put themselves at greater risk for their heads hitting the bottom of the pool.
A cell phone or payphone should be accessible in case of an emergency.
5. Learn CPR
In an emergency, a person on site trained in CPR can provide invaluable assistance in the precious moments spent waiting for help to arrive.
To arrange an interview with Mr. Carlos Moreno, contact Randy Levine at (267) 295-3167 or e-mail at email@example.com
University of the Sciences in Philadelphia is a private, coeducational institution dedicated to education, research, and service. Comprising five colleges, including its new Mayes College of Healthcare Business and Policy, USP specializes in educating its 2,800 students for rewarding careers through its undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in pharmacy, health and related sciences, and healthcare business and health policy. Founded in 1821 as the nation’s first college of pharmacy, it is where the founders of six of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world launched their futures.