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The Perils of Diving
A hot summer day is the perfect time to take a refreshing dive into a pool or lake. However, according to the Atlanta-based Shepherd Center, one of the most preventable causes of spinal cord injury (SCI) is diving. No one can blame other parties when adults use poor diving techniques or fail to follow common-sense measures to protect their safety. Still, diving accidents can also be caused by negligent pool maintenance and supervision. An experienced Charlotte spine injury attorney can help identify who is at fault.
A Single Dive Can Change a Life Forever
It is not uncommon for diving accidents to cause minor scrapes, bumps and bruises; however, the injuries can easily be much worse. People need to take a lesson from Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator, Charles Krauthammer, whose life changed dramatically after a diving accident.
On his way to afternoon classes at Harvard (where he happened to be studying the spinal cord), the 22-year old medical student stopped for a swim and hit his head on the bottom of the pool during a dive. The angle of his dive severed his spinal cord leaving him permanently paralyzed.
Clearly, Krauthammer did not allow his disability to stop him. In addition to becoming a psychiatrist, he has a lifetime of impressive achievements. However, his experience provides an important wake-up call. Individuals should understand the risks and take action to prevent injuries before diving into the water.
Swimmers Should Follow Safe-Diving Procedures
Whether from the side of a pool or off a diving board, diving tends to be a relatively-spontaneous activity. This can be perfectly acceptable, provided individuals follow basic safety protocols such as the following before taking the first leap:
- Get training: Diving involves coordination and special judgment. Younger divers in particular may be fearless, but they often lack the basic requirements to dive safely. Everyone should ensure they receive proper training prior to diving.
- Get supervision: No one should ever dive without a responsible individual available to come to the rescue. New divers should have someone who monitors and corrects their form prior to every dive.
- Check depth markings: The depth of a pool affects the types of dives that can be performed safely — or if the water is too shallow to permit any kind of diving. If depth markings are not available, avoid diving entirely or get into the water to check the depth before diving.
- Do not drink and dive: Even one alcoholic beverage can affect judgment, especially when heat from the sun increases intoxication levels.
Determining Fault After a Diving Accident
The actual act of diving can take a split second, so it is challenging to identify the absolute cause of a spinal cord or other injury. Anyone who experiences such a life-changing event needs to turn to a lawyer who understands both spinal cord injuries and swimming pool accidents and knows the liability issues in these complex legal cases.