Entries in Injuries (21)


Ocean Injuries More Common Than Thought

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study found that injuries caused by ocean waves are more common and more severe than you might think.

According to a release from the University of Delaware, there have been 1,121 injuries requiring emergency room treatment in the state of Delaware over the past three summers that were related to ocean waves.

Researchers worked with lifeguards to determine how many of these injuries occurred in the surf zone -- the part of the beach between the water's edge and where the waves break. Many of the 1,121 injuries occurred in two feet of water or less, with the patient being knocked over by a wave and driven into the sand.

The study determined that the most frequent beach-related injuries were to the arm and shoulder. On the contrary, neck and spinal injuries were less common than experts expected, making up just under five percent of beach injuries. The patients that did hurt their neck or spine, however, often suffered life-changing injuries.

Interestingly, many of the injuries reported in the study occurred in clusters. On 21 percent of the days studied, there were no injuries at all, whereas on 26 percent of days there were five or more injuries.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Real Risks at Amusement Park Not Rollercoasters, Study Finds

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- May to September is prime time for fun at the amusement park, and with fun comes a little bit of danger. From frightening news reports to personal YouTube videos, there is no shortage of amusement-ride scares. But a new study has found that it's not always the biggest and fastest rides we should fear.

Smaller ones, which parents might not consider as dangerous, contribute to injuries of more than 4,000 U.S. children each year.

Destiny Malone was just eight when she broke her arm by reaching out while riding a seemingly innocuous kiddie roller coaster.

"When I took her to the emergency room, that's when I found out it was broken," her mother, Crystal Malone, said.

The study, in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, tracked injuries on all kinds of rides: 4,400 per year -- up to 20 a day. When researchers looked at emergency records on which the type of ride was recorded, roller coasters accounted for 10.1 percent, bumper cars 3.9 percent.

But carousels accounted for 20.9 percent -- which might explain why one third of kids injured were five or younger.

The most common kind of accident was falling.

Industry advocates told ABC News that safety is their top priority, and pointed out that injuries among the nearly 300 million riders at their parks are rare. Less than two percent of these injuries required a trip to the hospital, they added.

The best advice may be to take seriously the warnings and instructions on the rides. And if your child may not be able to heed them for any reason, get ice cream instead.



Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bounce House Injuries Ballooning, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Bounce house injuries can quickly deflate a party.  And according to a new study, they’re on the rise.

More than 11,300 children were treated for bounce house-related injuries in 2010, double the number from 2008 and 16 times the number from 1995, according to the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

That “equals a child every 46 minutes nationally,” wrote the authors from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  “This epidemic increase highlights the urgency of addressing the prevention of inflatable bouncer-related injuries among children.”

More than half of the bounce house injuries were fractures, sprains and strains, according to the study, followed by injuries to the head, neck and face.  Falling was the most common cause of injury, followed by collisions with other jumpers.

The type and frequency of injuries lands the colorful castles next to trampolines in terms of safety concerns, according to the study.

“In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirmed its recommendation against any home or other recreational usage of trampolines and recommended use only as part of a structured training program with appropriate safety measures employed,” the study authors wrote.  “Policy makers must consider whether the similarities observed in bouncer-related injuries warrant a similar response.”

The reason for the rise in bounce house injuries is unclear, but the study authors suggest a jump in popularity, as well as changes to their design might be to blame.

In June 2011, strong winds lifted three bounce houses off the ground at a youth soccer tournament in Oceanside, N.Y., injuring 13 children.

The study authors say the rise in injuries “underscores the need for guidelines for safer bouncer usage and improvements in bouncer design to prevent these injuries among children.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Genital Harm More Common than Dental Injuries, Study Shows

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You may want to think twice before making fun of your friend for going to the hospital after getting hit in the crotch with a soccer ball.   According to a study published in the Journal of Urology, these accidents are more common than you’d imagine.

Researchers looked at genital injuries to men and women caused by consumer products -- from bicycles to clothing -- or household mishaps that sent both men and women to the hospital from 2002 to 2010.

The study showed that every year, nearly 16,000 adults in the United States have genital injuries that can be caused by shaving, sports equipment, falling off  furniture, or even sex toys.

“While all of the studies into genitourinary trauma [in the past] involved things like car accidents or pedestrians getting hit by cars, the more minor things haven’t been looked at,” said senior author Benjamin Breyer, an assistant professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Breyer said the data used in the study came from a database of 100 emergency rooms around the country.  They recorded genital injuries related to consumer products.

Patients’ personal information was not linked to their injury details, Breyer said.

Injuries to the penis, scrotum, testicles, urethra, kidneys, bladder, and external female genitalia, among other body parts, were taken into account.

Over the 9-year period, 142,444 adults were brought to hospitals with genital injuries caused by consumer products.  Men ages 18-28 sustained these injuries most frequently.

The majority of injuries took place during the summer, with spikes in emergency room admissions taking place from June to August.

Adults were most likely to hurt themselves with sporting equipment -- particularly bicycles -- and also clothing.  A large number of men reported injuries caused by the zippers of their pants.

Of the findings, Breyer said he was most surprised by how many injuries happen in the bathroom -- slipping in the shower, burning yourself with hot water, or toilet seat-related injuries.

Younger patients, and women in particular, experienced “a lot of grooming injuries -- lacerations, things like that,” said Breyer.  “That was pretty surprising.”

Adults over 65 were less likely to sustain genital injuries.  When they did occur, they were most likely to be related to falling, and required inpatient admission for injury-related trauma.

Breyer said the frequency of genital injuries was equivalent to the number of electrical and chemical burns that happen annually.  Surprisingly, genital injuries are two times more likely to occur than dental injuries, he said.

Breyer said despite the sheer number of injuries recorded, many adults who hurt themselves may not go to the emergency room, citing time and money as reasons why people don’t get checked out after getting hurt.

“The vast majority of these injuries described were ones where the person came to the emergency room and was able to be discharged,” Breyer said.  “This probably underestimates how many of these are actually happening.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Injured Olympians Turn to Tape: The Sticky Science of Kinesio

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The neon tape swathing sprinters and swimmers alike, called Kinesio, is taking London by storm.

"It's all over the Olympics," said Dr. Jennifer Solomon of New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery.  "Athletes love it."

Developed by a Japanese chiropractor, Kinesio claims to cut pain and boost performance.  And judging by its prominence at this year's Games, athletes think it works.

"If you ask them, they say it does," said Solomon, team physician for the U.S. Tennis Association.  "But there's no solid scientific evidence that this tape helps."

Crafted from cotton and medical grade adhesive, Kinesio is more flexible than traditional tape.  And when strategically strewn along injured muscles, its gentle tug promotes circulation to help clear out damage, according to its maker.

"No one's claiming this is a cure," said Mike Good, international director for the Albuquerque, N.M.-based company.  "It's an adjunct therapy."  

But a slew of studies that failed to find bona fide benefits have some experts skeptical.

"It might have some small role in the rehab process," said Dr. Dennis Cardone, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.  "But without evidence, we can't say it's doing anything near what the company claims or what athletes using it say they feel."

The effort to tease out the tape's true benefits is complicated by the placebo effect.

"If an athlete's convinced the tape is helping and looks cool, it can certainly boost their confidence," Cardone said.

The waterproof tape, designed to stick for up to five days, sells for $6 a strip or $13 a role.  But buying it is only half the battle.

"If you don't know the proper taping technique, you're not going to get the results you want," said Good, adding that more than 100,000 athletic trainers worldwide have taken the paid Kinesio Taping course, about 10,000 last year in the United States alone. "The tape is just a tool."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bottles, Sippy Cups Pose Injury Risks to Babies

Jupiterimages/Pixland/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Every four hours a child under the age of 3 is treated in the Emergency Department for an injury caused by a bottle, pacifier or sippy cup.  Previous studies had focused on choking and burns caused by these products.  But a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics has shown that a range of injuries can occur, especially injuries to the mouth.

"Our study team was interested in doing this study because we recognized that almost every child in the U.S. uses all of these products on a daily basis at some point during infancy or early childhood," said Sarah Keim, principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and a researcher on the study.  "We noticed that there was really no research about injuries associated with these products, aside from a handful of case reports about severe burns from overheated bottles and asphyxiation or ingestion of pacifier parts."

Keim and her colleagues at Nationwide studied 20 years of data and found that around 2,000 children each year are treated in the emergency room for injuries from these products.  Children younger than 3 were usually hurt when falling while these objects were in their mouths.

If there is a silver lining, Keim said, it is that the number of injuries has been on the decline in recent years compared to years past -- though it is hard to say exactly why.

"It could be [that] children are using the products less, the products are somehow safer, or the injuries are less severe and so don't arrive at emergency departments for care," she said.

Still, the idea that bottles and sippy cups could be leading to these injuries at all may be surprising to parents.

"Everybody uses them, so we automatically assume that they are safe -- but are they really?" said Dr. Deborah Lonzer, chair of the department of community pediatrics for the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.  "This study shows that they may not be as safe as we think that they are."

Children around age 1 were most likely to be injured, probably because kids are learning to walk, climb and run around this time.  Boys were most likely to suffer cuts to the face, while girls were more likely to break or chip their teeth.

Lonzer said many of these injuries may be avoided if parents switch their kids over to regular cups sooner.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Protective Parents Imperil Kids at the Playground

Christopher Robbins/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- For parents who hover, a playground can look like a very dangerous place for their kids. But medical experts warn that parental efforts to keep their young children safe often backfire -- and end up harming them instead.

Nora Abularach of New York keeps her impulses in check. On Wednesday she watched as her 2-year-old son, Sam, scurried up the ladder to a big yellow slide at a Central Park playground. Abularach remained a few feet away near the foot of the slide. Sam paused at the top for a moment, looking to his mom for reassurance. A few encouraging words later, Sam was zipping down the slide, all by himself.

The mother of two says she likes this particular playground because it is specially designed for Sam's age group. She can let him explore and tackle each new apparatus on his own.

"I try not to hover," she said. "I think it's important for him to fall once or twice; he needs to figure out his own limits."

Meanwhile, it's becoming clear that playgrounds are not what they used to be. Towns and schools across the country have been bulldozing the old metal on concrete playgrounds in exchange for softer surfaces, lower platforms and fewer moving parts. The emphasis on safe play zones for children has never been greater. But some question whether these changes are making a difference when it comes to injured kids.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 2008 saw just over 220,000 ER visits from kids injured on playgrounds. This actually reflects a small increase from their 1999 estimate of 205,000.

The most common playground injuries requiring medical attention were fractures, bruises, cuts and sprains, which made up 85 percent of all visits. Ninety-five percent of children taken to the ER after a playground injury were treated and released.

And some parents may be surprised to learn that their efforts to keep their kids safer on the playground may actually be causing more injuries than they prevent.

A 2009 study out of Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., found that 14 percent of fractures to one of the lower leg bones, called the tibia, occurred on slides. Surprisingly, 100 percent of them happened in children who were riding down the slide on the lap of a parent. No children who slid alone sustained the injury.

The researcher, Dr. John T. Gaffney, chief of pediatric orthopedic surgery says he did this study after seeing children come into the ER one after another with a similar history and diagnosis.

"The parents were very frustrated and upset to learn that they had inadvertently contributed to their child's fracture when they thought they were helping," says Gaffney.

Some experts say cuts and scrapes, and even the broken bones will heal, but a playground's effect on a child's emotional development may be long-lasting. There are a number of critics of these new super-safe play areas.

Ellen Sandseter and colleagues from Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Trondheim, Norway, wrote about the effects of "safe" playgrounds and overly cautious parents on child development in a 2011 article in Evolutionary Psychology.

According to the article, a young child naturally fears the highest bar of the jungle gym or that extra twisty slide. These fears are adaptive, meaning they have a purpose, preventing them from being injured.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Stair Injuries Are Falling, But Still Land 93,000 Kids in ER

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Although stair-related injuries among young children are on the decline, they still prompt more than 93,000 emergency room visits per year, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

"The good news is that in 10 years these injuries have dropped by 11 percent," said study author Dr. Gary Smith, director of Nationwide Children's Hospital's Center for Injury Research and Policy.  "But the wake-up call is that we're still seeing a child less than 5-years-old injured every six minutes.  To me that means we have a lot more work to do."

Smith and colleagues used the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to track stair-related ER visits between 1999 and 2008.

"We need to know how these injuries are happening to know how to prevent them," said Smith, whose research on baby walkers helped fuel policy changes linked to a 76 percent decrease in related injuries.  "These are kids who have good parents.  We just need to design the environment so parents aren't expected to do the impossible."

While some children were injured in strollers, walkers or other vehicles such as a laundry basket, 87 percent tumbled on their own.

"Stair gates should be standard in homes where young children live or visit," said Smith.  "These kids have the mobility and curiosity, but they don't have the sense of danger."

Dr. Estevan Garcia, director of pediatric emergency medicine at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City, said it's important to have gates at the top and bottom of every staircase.

"A lot of people forget that if a kid can get up, they can come down," he said.

In another sobering statistic, one-quarter of children younger than 12 months old were injured while being carried by a parent or caretaker.  And they were three times more likely to be hospitalized with serious injuries.

"As a parent, I can relate," said Garcia, whose 1-year-old broke his leg on the stairs while he was being carried.  "Here I was thinking it was the safest way, and that's when he got hurt."

Broken arms and legs, while common, were vastly outnumbered by head and neck injuries, which accounted for 76 percent of ER visits.

"The biggest concern is bleeding or bruising in the brain," said Garcia, describing damage that can't be fixed with a plaster cast.  "We worry about long-term consequences of head injuries."

While gates and easy-to-grip railings can help prevent accidents, Garcia said it's just as important to teach kids how to tackle stairs safely from an early age.

"Show them how to scoot down on their bottoms," he said.  "You don't want them to be afraid, but you want them to understand the risks."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tebow's Playoff Blows Highlight Need for Sports Injury Care 

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow suffered numerous injuries during Saturday night’s playoff game against the New England Patriots, including torn cartilage, a bruised lung and fluid in the cavity surrounding one of his lungs, reports ESPN.

The damage was done, an NFL source told the sports network, during a hit Tebow took after throwing a pass.

The Broncos’ spokesman didn’t reveal the exact nature of Tebow’s injuries, citing team policy, but did say the quarterback was in a lot of pain at the end of the game.  Because of the pain, he had trouble sleeping and had an MRI earlier this week.

The source said Tebow’s injuries will not affect his offseason training regimen, and Tebow said in an interview he “can’t wait to get to work and get better.”

Without knowing precisely what happened to Tebow, it’s difficult to say what consequences staying in the game after being hit could have had.

But in general, doctors say a blow to the chest or abdomen can sometimes worsen over time, even if the damage seems minimal at first.

“These kind of injuries can evolve over time, and it may not cause trouble until later.  There may be pain that gets worse or other symptoms,” said Dr. John DiFiori, chief of the division of sports medicine in the department of family medicine at UCLA.  DiFiori was not referring to Tebow’s injuries and spoke of athletic injuries in general.

Athletes at all levels often play through injuries, either because they don’t seem that bad or because it’s in their nature.

“They will push through and feel that as long as they can make a difference to their team, they’ll be out there.  In the heat of competition, they may not perceive their injuries as being significant,” said DiFiori.

Concussions are among the most commonly underreported sports-related injuries.

“People may not even know they have a concussion. They can happen after a blow to the body that causes a rotational force to the head,” he said.

But awareness of the dangers of concussions and other sports injuries is on the rise, he added.  More and more athletes recognize the symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and slurred speech, and are seeking medical attention.

Despite broader knowledge of the consequences of sports injuries, athletes still need to be reminded about not pushing their bodies beyond their physical capabilities after getting hurt.

“Our job as sports medicine specialists is to communicate when it’s safe to return to playing.  Athletes are often so committed to getting back that they take shortcuts, and they need to be carefully counseled,” DiFiori said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Programs Offering Workers More Care on the Job

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MENOMENEE FALLS, Wis.) -- Fifty-year-old Debbie Germer has been a machinist at the Harley-Davidson’s Motorcycle Plant in Menomenee Falls, Wis., for the past 12 years.

It is hard, physically demanding work, especially for older workers.

“Some of that stuff -- like the spine rolls -- weigh 60 pounds. And you have to lift that up into a machine,” Germer said.

Last September, Germer partially tore a tendon in her shoulder. Now, twice a week, before her work shift, she gets physical therapy at her work site. And twice a week she works out at a gym, also located at her work site.

The 1,000 assembly plant workers can drop by before or after their shifts, or even on their breaks, to work out at work.

It’s part of an effort by Harley-Davidson to get their employees to shape up so it’s less likely they’ll break down.

Workers over 50 are more vulnerable than younger workers to injuries that keep them out of work -- sometimes permanently.

“I guess the fitter you are, not just the longer you can work, the less chance of hurting yourself,” Germer said.

If a worker does suffer a strain or sprain, there’s medical aid from a doctor, nurse or physical therapist on site.

When asked if workers last longer (to put it bluntly) when they’re physically fit, John Lowry, general manager of Powertrain Operations at Harley-Davidson, responded, “If you get a debilitating injury that could be the end of your career. So if we can stay out in front of those injuries or make sure they don’t happen, then we can prolong a person’s employment indefinitely.”

Duke Electric Utility in North Carolina takes a similar approach.

All 2,000 of its line technicians begin each work day stretching.  The aim is to prevent soft-tissue injuries like strained and pulled muscles.

At Duke Electric, more than half of their line technicians are over 50 -- and replacing an experienced worker is difficult. It takes up to eight years to fully train someone for the job.

“These are very valuable folks and we want to keep them working as long as we can -- for our benefit and for theirs,” said Jim Stanley, senior VP of Duke Electric.

Both Duke Electric and Harley-Davidson believe their fitness programs are paying dividends: both report declining numbers of injuries, fewer lost work days and older, more experienced, workers working longer.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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