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Traumatic spinal cord and brain injuries often increase in the summer, due to accidents on the beach or in the water. While you are cooling off in the pool, the lake or the ocean this summer, AtlantiCare reminds you to be alert for shallow water, rip currents, rough surf and other hazards.
Over the years at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC), doctors have treated a wide range of beach-and water-related injuries in the summer, from concussions and minor head or neck trauma, to chest and abdominal injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and sometimes fatal injuries.
“We want the local residents of our community and our visitors to enjoy the beaches, the ocean, water sports, and all the fun that the Jersey Shore has to offer, but we want them to do so safely. It’s important that beachgoers listen to the lifeguards’ warnings,” says Dr. Ciro Randazzo, AtlantiCare Neurosciences Institute.
“In addition to the beach and water-related spinal cord injuries, the Trauma Center has cared for patients suffering from concussions to traumatic brain injuries,” adds Dr. Kelly Willman, a trauma surgeon at ARMC. “Body surfing is the most common activity that can result in traumatic injury. Powerful waves can thrust your head to the ground, causing neck injuries, paralysis or even death. Boogie boarding, boating and personal watercraft accidents also can cause serious bodily harm.”
AtlantiCare offers the following safety tips for preventing spinal cord and other traumatic injuries:
- Heed lifeguards’ warnings.
- Swim in only lifeguard-protected waters.
- Check wave conditions before hitting the water.
- Avoid big or rough waves and waves breaking into shallow water close to shore.
- Keep your arms over your head to protect it from hitting the ocean floor.
- Ride the surf at an angle to the waves, rather than in a straight line toward the shore.
- Body surf with a partner.
- Know your beach and surf – be aware of rocks, jetties and sandbanks.
- Keep your eye on children.
- Practice courtesy and safety – stay clear of other bathers and be watchful of others.
- Swim or surf at night.
- Run and dive into the surf.
- Dive into a shallow pool.
- Combine alcohol with body surfing or other water or summer activities.
For more information, see www.AtlantiCareNeurosciences.org or call 1-888-569-1000.