Doctor warns on high jumps into water

Doctor warns on high jumps into water
A local man jumping fron the old Railway bridge into the sea at Cobh, Co Cork, with the cruise liner Astoria berthed in the background. Picture Dan Linehan

A DOCTOR who assists Cork lifeguards with medical issues has warned of the dangers of diving into water as Cork continues to enjoy a prolonged sunny spell.

Cork’s beaches have been heaving with locals and tourists alike, soaking up the rays and enjoying a swim in the sea.

However, the dangers of such activities are never too far from the service, warns Dr Tony Lynch, a beach guard team medic for Cork County Council.

“Everyone loves the exhilaration of jumping off a height into perfectly clear water,” he said.

“It is the dream holiday photo. However, when you have seen the damage a jump from a height can do to a body then you have a very different picture in your head.

“Over the years I have had to treat a number of people who have taken an ill-judged jump from a height into a body of water and the result has been a painful one.

“Patients can come in with broken heel bones, ankles fractured, shattered patella, dislocated and fractured hips but also very serious spinal injuries.

“Then throw in the dangers of drowning as a result of your injuries and you have a real recipe for disaster,” explained Dr Lynch.

The water can prove to be deceptive, he added.

“The simple truth is you just do not know what you will encounter once your body breaks the surface of the water.

“Your interpretation of depth, location of objects beneath the surface and even the bottom of the water itself, are affected by refraction of light,” explained the beach medic.

“An object placed in a denser medium, when viewed from rarer medium appears to be at a lesser depth than its real depth due to refraction of light.

“The result is you hit the bottom faster and with more impact than you had planned and this results in injury.”

Dr Lynch advised never to jump into a body of water unless you are fully aware of what is under the surface.

“Know the depths and never dive head first into water,” he said.

“Finally, it should be pointed out that water might offer a softer landing than the solid ground but from a height, water can cause a lot of damage to the body if struck at speed.

“So avoid ruining a great day out with a jump that could land you in the emergency department or worse heading to a spine injury centre.”

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