Cervical spine injuries occurring at the beach: epidemiology, mechanism of injury and risk factors

Thom, Ogilvie, Roberts, Kym, Leggat, Peter A., Devine, Sue, Peden, Amy E, and Franklin, Richard C. (2022) Cervical spine injuries occurring at the beach: epidemiology, mechanism of injury and risk factors. BMC Public Health, 22. 1404.

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Objective: Surf zone injuries include cervical spine injuries (CSI). Risk factors for CSI have not been extensively investigated. The objective was to examine risk factors associated with diagnosed CSI that occurred in a beach setting.

Methods: This retrospective case series used manually linked data from Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Emergency Departments, Queensland Ambulance Service, Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), and Bureau of Meteorology data from 01/01/2015-21/04/2021. Variables included victim demographics, mechanism of injury, scene information, and patient course.

Results: Seventy-nine of the 574 (13.8%) confirmed CSI occurred at the beach. Local residents and visitors were injured equally. Females represented a minority (12.7%) of those diagnosed with CSI but were a higher proportion of suspected spinal incidents reported to SLSQ (45%). Surfers were more likely to be injured through shallow water diving than swimmers (27.6% vs 2.2%). Females were more likely to be injured by shallow water diving than males (30.0% vs 8.7%). Visitors were more likely to be injured swimming and local residents surfing (68.2% vs 77.8% respectively). CSI occurred most commonly (40.0%) with a below average ocean wave height (0.75-1.25 m) and were most likely (45.3%) to occur in the second half of the outgoing tide. One beach had a statistically significant greater incidence of spinal incidents (OR 3.9, 95% CI: 2.1-7.2) and of CSI (OR 10.7, 95% CI: 1.5-79.5).

Conclusions: Risk factors for CSI at the beach include male sex, smaller wave height and an outgoing tide. Shallow water diving among surfers and females should be addressed urgently.

Item ID: 75924
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2458
Keywords: Cervical spine injury, Risk of drowning, Shallow water diving
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 01:16
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420604 Injury prevention @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200408 Injury prevention and control @ 100%
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