How much stock do you put in science? Like, if you’re listening to a news radio story and the host says, “Scientists agree…” are you also inclined to agree? What if the scientists agree upon something that sounds dubious and/or you’ve seen contrary evidence with your very own eyes? Do you question the scientists or your own eyes?
Well, what if I told you that science just proved that surfers are tough characters who mock danger and laugh in the face of debilitating injury?
I hope you’d say “No duh.” And let’s learn about University of British Columbia PhD student Nikolaus Dean who decided to explore the attitudes surfers have toward concussions for his thesis. You know, of course, how trendy concussions are right now. A very modern, scary ailment like AIDs used to be. One knock on the head and it’s all over. No more playing… for folk not quite as tough as surfers, anyhow.
And let’s dip straight in to the question and answer portion with almost Dr. Dean, skipping sample size etc. Let’s not waste precious time with boring details.
What attitudes did the surfers in your study have toward concussion?
Generally, they showed irreverent attitudes toward the injury. They would often downplay or trivialize the severity of it. It shows that they’re willing to accept the risks of playing injured, and to push through concussive injuries. This has been shown before in more traditional sporting contexts, but now it’s also being displayed in individual, non-contact, non-traditional contexts. It’s really interesting when you think about that, because surfers don’t have teammates or coaches who may be pressuring them to play through injuries. Those external factors were absent.
Then why do they do it?
There were three main factors. The first was time. Maybe they had a limited time within a surf area. For example, if they had travelled to get to a remote spot, they would be more inclined to surf through a concussion. Or if the injury happened on the first wave of the day, they would be more likely to stay out and surf through it.
The second factor was having others present in the water. Although they don’t have teammates, coaches or trainers, a number of surfers said they’d be more willing to push through a concussion if they were out surfing with friends.
And the last factor, which I thought was one of the most interesting, was wave conditions. A number of them said that was the No. 1 reason they would continue to surf through a concussion. It was quite telling that wave conditions would dictate that.
And there we have it. Definitive proof that surfers are more robust than people who play other sports and/or better.