Surfing injuries in arctic waters
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Objective: To describe the frequency, types, mechanisms and treatment of acute surfing injuries in cold and arctic waters, and to compare these findings to studies of surfing injuries in warmer parts of the world. Materials and methods: The study was a retrospective survey describing acute surfing injuries in Norway. Data were collected with an website based online questionnaire, between March 2013 and June 2013. An acute injury was defined as a sudden onset injury, with a clearly defined cause or onset and leading to inability to surf for at least one day. Results: Of the 974 included respondents, 245 (25.2%) reported a total of 511 acute injuries.The injury rate was 2.2 injuries pr 1000 surfing days (0.47 pr 1000 surfing hours). Injury rates in the studies we compared to ranged from 2.2 to 3.5 injuries pr 1000 surfing hours (6.6 to 1.1 injuries pr 1000 surfing hours). 421 injuries were described, and the most common injured body part was the head and neck 182 (43.3%), in contrast to the lower limbs in the studies done in warmer climates. The most frequent reported injury types were lacerations/abrasions (30.4%). Our study had a lower amount of lacerations/abrasions and sprain/strains, and a higher amount of contusions and hypothermia. Trauma from contact with the surfboard was the most common reported injury mechanism in all the studies, including ours with 196 (49.7%). 972 (99.8 %) of the respondents reported use of wetsuits. Only 10 (1%) of the respondents reported occasional use of helmet. Conclusion: It seems that surfing injuries in cold and arctic waters in Norway, are mostly influenced by the same factors as injuries sustained in warmer waters in the world. There are some differences though, and these can most likely be attributed to the cold climate and the widespread use of wetsuit equipment reported by the cold water surfers in our study. Surfing in Norway is quite safe, but some severe head injuries were reported and might be prevented by the use of helmets.