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Orthopedic Institute of PA \ The Arlington Group Safe Summer Fun Series: Swimming

Swimming SafetySwimming is a very popular way to stay in shape and to just have some fun while cooling off this summer. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons provides some facts and information about swimming injuries that we wanted to pass along to you. More than a quarter of a million swim-related injuries occurred in 2015, and there are nearly two thousand spinal cord diving-related injuries each year. Many of these cord injuries unfortunately end in paralysis. Since swimming is a great, low-impact activity for all ages, there are things you can do to minimize the risk of injuries so that you can keep enjoying the water year after year. The AAOS lists several tips:

  • Make sure you know how to swim, and never swim by yourself. Have life jackets available for those with less experience. When at the beach or other large swimming areas, be sure to stay within the patrolled areas under a lifeguard’s watch.
  • Only swim if you are healthy enough to do so; check with your doctors if you have any questions.
  • Be sure to warm up with some land-based exercises, and remember to stretch!
  • Shoulder injuries are at the top of the list, so exercising-and thereby strengthening-shoulder and upper back muscles will help.
  • Never go into a body of water head-first, and never dive into shallow or murky water.
  • Make sure the area is deep enough for diving, and always enforce proper diving board use. Be sure that people do not dive until the last diver is out of the way.
  • Check the weather! Thunderstorms-and therefore electrical activity-and water are not a good mix. Wait it out inside the house if a storm is on its way.
  • Never enter lakes or large bodies of water after a storm if there appears to be any flooding or murky water. Hazards can arise after storms.
  • Enforce a “no drinking and swimming” rule. Alcohol impairs judgment, movement, and vision, and it can also make it difficult for a person to maintain proper body temperature.
  • Be prepared for bumps, scrapes, and other minor injuries with basic first aid supplies, and always have a way to reach emergency personnel if needed.

Have fun and be safe!

AAOS. “Swimming Injury Prevention.” OrthoInfo. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 1995-2017. Web. July 2017.