A trip to Hawaii gives visitors a chance at new experiences. Unfortunately, some of these new things can lead to harm, including shallow-dive and wave-related injuries.
According to PubMed Central, diving into shallow water accounts for 3% of all spinal cord injuries among visitors to Hawaii and is most likely to happen on Oahu. This type of injury is more likely to affect younger demographics of visitors, with males being more prone to it than females. Approximately one-quarter of shallow-dive injuries involve alcohol.
Wave-related injuries divide further into categories including board surfing, body surfing and skimboarding. Most injuries of this type involve incidents in which the visitors describe a wave “tossing” them. Collectively, wave-related injuries are more common than shallow-dive injuries, responsible for 28% of SCIs among Hawaiian visitors.
Wave-related injuries are more prevalent throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Ten beaches account for over half of all the injuries. Wave-related incidents are also more likely to result in injury to the neck, even compared to diving headfirst into shallow water.
Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in most wave-related injuries, but it is unclear whether this indicates that visitors were not drinking or that testing for alcohol does not take place as often as it should in patients with this type of injury.