Researchers research the darnest things. Sometimes I wonder who all these researchers are. Well, recent study in U.S. has shown that surfing is safer than soccer. Not realy the two sports I would compare but It did raise my eyebrow.
Soccer vs. surfing – which is safer?
Researchers research the darnest things. Sometimes I wonder who all these researchers are (present company not included as they are named :) ). Well, recent study in U.S. has shown that surfing is safer than soccer. Not realy the two sports I would compare but It did raise my eyebrow, becouse of the extreme and danger label that surfing often gets.
U.S. researchers have found that surfing is safer than soccer, contradicting public perception which may frame surfing as a dangerous sport. In the first study of its kind, researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown Medical School have computed the rate of injury among competitive surfers and found they are less prone to harm than collegiate soccer or basketball players.
“We found that competitive surfing has a relatively low risk of injury, 6.6 significant injuries per 1,000 hours of surfing – compared to other sports for which comparable data is available,” says lead author Andrew Nathanson, an emergency medicine physician with Rhode Island Hospital’s Injury Prevention Center. “However, the risk of injury more than doubled when surfing in large waves or over an area with a hard bottom.” Nathanson and his research team collected injury data from 32 surfing contests worldwide, both professional and amateur. Documentation of every acute surfing injury sustained during competition was recorded, as well as wave size, mechanism of injury and treatment. “Significant” injuries were qualified as those that prevented the surfer from surfing for one or more days, resulted in a hospital visit, or required on-site suturing. “Sprains and strains to the lower extremities, particularly the knees, were found to be the most common injuries reported. This is likely due to the aggressive turning and aerial maneuvers, which score highly in competitions, but also appear to place high stress on a surfer’s knee,” says Nathanson.
In contrast, previous studies conducted by Nathanson researching the injuries of recreational surfers found that lacerations and contusions were the most common reported injury. Most of these injuries were caused by direct contact between a surfer and a surfboard, either their own or another surfer’s. “The fact that cuts were found to be less common among surfers during a competition makes sense since it’s a more controlled environment compared to a recreational surfing-type atmosphere. “In competitions, there are a limited number of surfers in the water during each heat and the skill level is very high. On the other hand, recreational surfers are often trying to catch waves in a dense crowd of surfers of varying abilities,” says Nathanson. The authors note that although age and gender had no bearing on the injury rate, wave size and bottom type, independently, were significantly associated with a great chance of injury.
“It would come as little surprise to most surfers that the injury rate more than doubles when surfing in larger surf (overhead) compared to smaller waves, as the energy of waves increases as it grows in height. In addition, a sea floor with a sandy bottom is much more forgiving upon impact than one covered with reefs or rocks,” says Nathanson. “The information could also help to predict the needs of medical staff support at contests and aid in the design of safer surfboards and protective equipment such as helmets,” Nathanson adds.
To reduce the risk of injury while surfing, Nathanson suggests good physical fitness, seeking local knowledge before paddling out to an unfamiliar break, and being realistic in terms of your ability level and the size of the waves.