Friday, September 19, 2008
Those of you with no interest in numbers may choose to read no further. If you're still reading, these stats come from Wilderness and Environmental Medicine (the official publication of the Wilderness Medical Society), 19, 91-98 (2008)--and you're going to learn about the number of outdoor injuries in 2004 and 2005. During those 2 years, an estimated 212,708 injuries were sustained in outdoor activities and treated in hospitals. Sounds like a lot, yes, but the stats include just about any activity you can think of including skiing, horsepacking, skydiving, and snowmobiling. Lower limbs were involved in 27% of the injuries, upper limbs in 25%, and the head and neck in 23.3%. The most common diagnoses were fractures (27.4%) and strains or sprains (23.9%). Males were injured in 68.2% of the accidents. The most dangerous activity? Snowboarding, with a whopping 53,996 estimated annual injuries. Second was sledding, which includes sliding down snowy hillsides on tubes and disks (22,780 annual injuries), and third was hiking (13,448) which included anyone out for a walk anywhere outdoors. Short version: It's statistically much safer on ground than snow. For more info, check out www.wms.org.