Academic journal article New Zealand Physical Educator

Taking the Plunge: What Youth Think and Do around Diving into Water

Academic journal article New Zealand Physical Educator

Taking the Plunge: What Youth Think and Do around Diving into Water

Article excerpt

BACKGROUND

While recreational swimming is generally perceived as a positive indicator of a healthy lifestyle, one potentially serious health risk is that of spinal cord injury (SCI). Such injuries are often the consequence of entering the water head first during aquatic recreational activity.1 While the numbers of hospitalisations are relatively few, the financial and social costs to society of spinal cord injuries is particularly high given that those most frequently affected are healthy young persons under twenty-nine years of age. Previous studies1-5 identified the following risk factors for SCI:

* Age, gender, type of water body and depth

* Entering the water from a pier or wharf, not checking the depth beforehand, unfamiliarity with the body of water

* Failure to check water depth prior to entry

* Alcohol consumption has been identified in 15-45% of incidents involving diving-related spinal injuries across all age groups

* Almost half (49%) of non-fatal cervical cord injuries occurring in swimming

* Familiarity with the site was not necessarily protective

PURPOSE

The purpose of this Fact Sheet is to:

* Examine the attitudes of New Zealand youth towards recreational diving

* Determine the extent of dangerous diving practice

* Ascertain whether some young people are at greater risk of SCI than others. …

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