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The Dangers of Diving and Spinal Cord Injuries


When most people think of spinal cord injuries, they think of obvious physical impact sports or activities, such as football. However, many people experience severe spinal cord injuries each year due to diving. Take, for example, one college-level professional swimmer who was left paralyzed after diving in Boston Harbor, or this college football player whose career is likely over after he recently suffered a serious spinal injury after diving in Waikiki Walls.

The obvious question here is: How are so many athletes, who are in shape (and arguably know what they are doing) suffering from these types of injuries? Shouldn’t these areas have provided some kind of warning, ban, or enforcement against diving there if there was a risk of suffering a severe injury as a result, especially areas where many had injured themselves before?

Their Stories

For Theo St. Francis, headed off to MIT in the fall to swim on the school’s professional team, one dive changed life as he knew it forever: After jumping into Boston Harbor, his C6 vertebra was shattered, relegating him to a life of grueling physical therapy and related treatments every day for the rest of his life.

For Kalepo Naotala, who recently jumped head-first off a groin in Waikiki known as Waikiki Walls and seriously injured his spine, both the city and various doctors have pointed out that this happens a lot, so what can be done to minimize the risk?

Reasonable Preventative Measures?

Waikiki Walls is reportedly a popular place to jump off, in spite of numerous signs being posted. Because the reef areas contain very shallow sections amidst the deep holes, it is common for those diving to miss the holes and hit the shallow area, seriously injuring them.  There have been at least five incidents resulting in spinal cord injuries in just one seven-year period. Visitors—including those from Florida—come to the area and decide to jump because they see everyone else doing it. If they jump feet first, they can break their backs or necks, becoming paraplegic or quadriplegic for the rest of their lives.

In this case, although no one is supposed to jump off there, the city has claimed that it does not have the resources to properly monitor the situation. Those who jump are unsure of where and how to jump so as to avoid injury. Would it thus make more sense for the city to provide some specific guidance to jumpers, knowing that people are going to jump there regardless, given that the city cannot provide for enforcement?

Fort Lauderdale Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Spinal cord injuries can permanently disable and sometimes even kill you or your loved ones. Those who survive may still be left with permanent paralysis, with loss of feeling, sensation, and muscle or motor function.  And these types of injuries so frequently and unjustly damage young lives, as in the cases discussed above.

The team at Friedland & Associates in Fort Lauderdale dedicates itself to helping victims of spinal cord injuries. If you’ve been the victim of an injury like this, contact our Fort Lauderdale spinal cord injury lawyers today for a free consultation.



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