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Cervical Spine Injuries top Water Park Woes

Posted by copeland on June 23, 2014

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During the summertime, water parks are top destinations for families nationwide - and especially here in sunny Florida, where temperatures regularly are in the 90s and can easily hit triple digits. Unfortunately, water park fun can quickly turn dangerous, amusement park injury attorneys warn.

Florida boasts nearly 20 waterparks, each of which attracts tens of thousands of visitors annually. And each year, a number of these visits end in the emergency room of a nearby hospital. Results of study showed that waterpark injuries happen in three primary ways:

  • 31.5 percent occur on waterslides
  • 21.9 percent happen in swimming, wading and wave pools
  • 46.6 percent happen when victims slip and fall on wet surfaces

Top among the most common types of waterpark injuries are spinal trauma, head trauma and maxillofacial trauma, and the vast majority of these occur when a victim is careening down a waterslide or flume, research shows.

“Cervical spine injuries are the most common complications due to recreational aquapark activities, and they are almost irreversible," read a report on waterpark injuries published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. "Over 90 percent of these accidents result in quadriplegia, causing tremendous impact to the patient and society. Spine injuries due to diving into water mostly affect young men, and almost 50 percent of these patients present with complete [Spinal Cord Injuries].”

A top factor in many of these injuries is speed. Flying down a flume can create speeds fast enough to crush cervical vertebrae and boosts the risk of a severe head injury from impact with a solid object, like the side of a slide or the bottom of the pool.

Other waterpark injury types include:

  • Straddle injuries, wherein a victim injures his or her groin by straddling the side of a water slide, safety bar, etc.
  • Water-jet injuries, which occur when water enters body cavities at a high rate of speed, as when a victim shoots down a flume
  • Drowning or near drowning
  • Bone fractures 
  • Lacerations 
  • Sprains 
  • Concussions 
  • Contusions (injury to the muscle, bone, or soft tissue)

If you and your family will beat the heat with a visit to a Florida water park this summer, be sure your children understand the importance of following all posted safety precautions. While water park injuries often are the fault of negligence on the part of the park owner and staff, many are caused by a victim's own careless actions.

If you or your dependents are injured while visiting a waterpark, get medical treatment immediately. Then, contact an experienced amusement park injury attorney, who can help you secure the compensation you're due. Call 407-999-8995 in Orlando or 407-847-7277.