Don’t just dive in. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t flip!


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Diving boards can be scary, especially if you’ve seen some of the injury numbers -- and are naturally risk-averse to begin with.

Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (seriously, that’s the name) and others at Ohio State University studied diving-injury-related data from 1990 through 2006, identifying more than 100,000 incidents involving people younger than 20.


Among the findings:

* Kids ages 10 to 14 were most likely to be injured. They accounted for 36.3% of people younger than 20 showing up in emergency rooms with diving-linked wounds.

* Damage to the head and neck was the most common type of injury, amounting to 38.2% of the total. Facial injuries were the second-most common at 21.7%.

* The leading cause of injuries was collision with a diving board or platform. A whopping 43.9% of the incidents were attributed to this type of accident.

And this is of special note. The report states: ‘The odds of injury caused by contact with the diving board dramatically increased if the child was performing a flip and/or handstand or a backward dive.’

Here’s the full report, published in the August issue of Pediatrics, with lots of graphs and data and all sorts of fun facts.

And here’s a diving safety fact sheet from the long-named institution above. Though good luck with No. 5: ‘Remove obstacles from lakes, rivers and oceans.’ Besides, as the study notes: 90% of the diving injuries occurred in swimming pools.


So here are some more safety tips, courtesy of the Virginia Water Safety Coalition. Seems random, I know, but they’re useful. And they have Greg Louganis quotes thrown in for good measure.

-- Tami Dennis