Water tubing injuries up dramatically
It’s fast and furious—and can be dangerous.
With summer water sports set to kick into high gear, new research warns that water tubing has become increasingly dangerous with the number of yearly injuries spiking. Water tubing involves participants sitting on an inner tube while being pulled by a speed boat via a tow line.
A study done at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that water tubing injuries have increased a whopping 250 percent in the last 19 years. The number of annual injuries grew from just over 2,000 in 1991 to more than 7,000 in 2009, the most recent year statistics are available.
Researchers noted that since most water tubing is done during the summer, 65 people were being injured every day on average.
“Like water skiing or surfing, water tubing can be a thrilling and safe activity when the right precautions are taken,” said Dr. Rishi Sikka, emergency medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group. “Limiting the speed and the number of people on the tube and following the manufacturer’s safety recommendations can ensure a fun and safe experience.”
Analysis of accident data found that head injuries and injuries to the upper body were most common. The injuries mostly came from contact with the water and also from colliding with other water tubers.
Age also played a role, researchers said. Children up to 20 years old were most likely to have head injuries. Researchers believe the head injuries among youth were most likely caused by piling on too many riders. Adults, by comparison, were more likely to injure their knees.
The Recreational Boating Industry offers safe water tubing tips on their website that include wearing a personal flotation device, using a secure tow line and using a “spotter” on the boat to keep an eye on the tubers while the driver concentrates on steering.
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