What to Do When a Diving Injury Occurs

Unfortunately diving injuries are all too common. They account for the majority of all pool related accidents. Diving injuries can result for any number of reasons especially diving into shallow water. 57.2% of diving injuries happen in water that is 4 feet or less. 16.8% of diving injuries happen when a person is trying to perform a trick or a special dive. Surprisingly less than 10% of diving injuries happen as a result of a diving board. The majority happen because of not judging the distance properly or running. The proper treatment after a swimming pool injury can prevent an injury from getting worse, and stop paralysis from occurring in extreme cases. In the event of a diving injury this is what you do to ensure the victim’s safety at all times.

You should treat the victim as if a spinal cord injury has happened during the diving injury. Make sure you don’t jump into the water because the smallest wave could make a spinal cord injury worse. If a person is facedown and in the shallow end the first thing you want to do is turn the person over. You need to be careful not to twist or bend the person. One forearm should be placed on the person’s sternum with that hand placed on their lower jaw. The other forearm goes lengthwise on the spine with the hand holding the base of the skull. You want to submerge under water and rotate the person. You need to continue supporting the person’s neck and back. Don’t try to carry the person out of the pool. Keep them supported in the shallow end until someone comes with a gurney or back board to secure the victim.

If the diving injury occurs in the deep end then you should float the victim to shallow water before waiting for the gurney or back board. If the person is face down make sure to follow the same procedure as listed in the paragraph above. If the victim is in a consistently deep water pool or there are obstructions like buoys in the way of getting to the shallow end, the gurney must be brought to the victim in the deep end.

Once on the gurney the victim will be secured and strapped in to make sure that they’re head, neck, and spine are in alignment and don’t move. CPR will be performed if necessary.