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Journal of Trauma & Treatment

ISSN: 2167-1222

Open Access

Epidemiology of Personal Watercraft Injuries

Abstract

Richdeep S. Gill, Kevin Whitlock, Abhinit S. Jawanda, Sumeet S. Gill and Shahzeer Karmali

The popularity of extreme water sports has been steadily increasing over the last decade. Personal Watercraft (PWC) users are at the forefront of this rise. Individuals straddle a vehicle similar to a motorcycle and travel at high speeds, unrestrained across the water. Unfortunately this extreme activity is associated with significant risk of injury when accidents occur. Recent reports from the US coast guard suggest that PWC users are second only to open motorboats in terms of total marine accidents. Individuals commonly suffer orthopedic and closed head injuries due to the sudden deceleration secondary to a collision. Fractures are common and can be life threatening when the head and neck region is involved. Interestingly, PWC related deaths are less likely to occur from drowning and more likely secondary to blunt trauma. This phenomenon is in stark contrast to other open motorboat injuries. As well, rare perineal and lower abdominal injuries have been reported to occur when PWC passengers fall off the back of the vehicle. Without proper equipment the water jet causes significant trauma to the rectum and perineum. Many trauma experts have recommended changes to safety regulations that include better equipment, increased training for young and inexperienced users, improved protective behaviors while riding and improved PWC design. Without the industry, regulators and users making these changes it is unlikely that accidents and injuries from this extreme sport will decrease any time soon.

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