Researchers hope to make one of Australia’s most iconic sporting pastimes even safer by investigating surfing injuries.
Royal North Shore Hospital specialist Dr Simon Dimmick studied head and spinal injuries of surfers admitted to the hospital over the past two years.
The research, to be presented this week at a Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiology conference in Sydney, found head and neck damage accounts for about 25 to 37 per cent of surfing injuries.
Dr Dimmick said more than 50 per cent of all spinal injuries sustained by surfers affected the neck, also called the cervical spine.
Only 10 per cent were thoracic spine fractures and five per cent were fractures of the lumbar vertebrae.
About one quarter of spinal injuries involved bruising to the spinal cord, Dr Dimmick said.
Spinal injuries were mostly caused by contact with the sea floor, while head and facial injuries resulted from being hit with a surfboard, he said.
Two studies involving 28 patients each were carried out at the hospital, which is NSW’s main treatment centre for spinal injuries.
Although significant injuries can occur from surfing, the sport is considered relatively safe.
The reported incidence of injury ranges from 2.2 to 3.5 injuries per 1,000 hours of surfing for recreational surfers and around 6.6 per cent per 1,000 hours of competitive surfing.
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Source: Sydney Morning Herald
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