Aetiology and occurrence of diving injuries: A review of diving safety.

Brian Blanksby, F.K. Wearne, Bruce Elliott, J.D. Blitvich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines multifaceted aspects of diving entries into water which are the cause of many critical injuries (costed at $A150 million) and therefore have important safety ramifications. Wedge and compression fractures are most commonly found in the cervical area of the spine with off-centre impacts with the pool or sea bottom. Diving-related injuries range from 2.3 in a South African study to 21% of spinal cord injuries in Poland. Alcohol and diving do not mix because of diminished awareness and information processing.Children aged under 13 years suffer fewer cervical injuries (1 to 4%), but complication rates are relatively high for this group. Sports trauma (diving-related in particular) is one of the more prevalent causes of spinal cord injury in children aged 6 to 15 years. The highest incidence occurs among those aged 10 to 14, followed by the group aged 5 to 9 years. This contradicts the common perception that 15- to 19-year-olds comprise the highest risk group. Boys are more frequently injured, and swimming pools are more common as an injury location then is the case with adults.The role played by water depth has not been conclusively ascertained; technique, and therefore education, appear to be more important considerations in injury prevention. Although 89% of injuries occur in water
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-246
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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