Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

It seems like we are seeing more and more diving accidents from kids while swimming. Is this a national trend?

Answer:

Diving is the number one cause of paralysis from recreational activities. Over 800 new cases are reported in the United States every year. Diving head first into a shallow pool of water can cause neck fracture and spinal cord damage. Twenty percent of all spinal cord injuries are diving related. More than 90 percent result in paralysis from the neck down.

The real trend is the use of alcohol by our young adults today. There's a direct link between alcohol use and the increase in diving accidents nationwide. It is estimated that alcohol is involved in almost half of all diving-related spinal cord injuries.

The typical patient is a young, athletic male less than 25 years old. Reckless behavior and misjudging the depth of water are common factors in many cases. Doctors are calling for greater education and awareness of this devastating but potentially preventable injury.

Demetrios S. Korres, MD et al. Diving Injuries of the Cervical Spine in Amateur Divers. In The Spine Journal. January/February 2006. Vol. 6. No. 1. Pp. 44-49.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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