Dangerous evidence ignored.
I am not what would be called a “science skeptic” but I certainly don’t weight the “boring arts” as heavily as some others. This world, this universe contains secrets far larger than the human mind and the human mind is fallible. Mistakes made. Data measured wrong or the importance of that data misapplied. Take the simple egg, for instance. For years we were told to only eat the white part. Now, thanks to recent discoveries, we know the yellow is where all the hot action is.
And if scientists can mess up the simple egg, they can certainly misapply figures regarding our favorite pastime. A recent study in the online academic journal Sports Health looked, for the first time broadly, at surfing related injuries and the relative damage they cause. Shall we put on our Thinking Caps, bifocals and tweed jackets to examine? It’ll be worth doing so purely for the natty look we shall achieve.
Harry “Tate” Greditzer, MD, a radiologist at HSS and avid surfer himself, launched a study to determine the kinds of orthopedic injuries a recreational surfer might sustain and how often he or she required surgery. “The primary purpose of the study was to characterize MRI patterns of acute surfing-related injury at HSS, an urban musculoskeletal hospital,” Dr. Greditzer said. “Secondarily, the purpose was to report the proportion of those injuries that required orthopedic surgical intervention.”
The search yielded 109 patients with surfing-related injuries who had MRIs. A total of 90 patients came to HSS within six months of their injury and were included in the final analysis. The median age was 36, with patients ranging in age from 12 to 66. Three-quarters of the patients were male.
Acute surfing injuries were diagnosed with an MRI in 72% of study patients. The following injuries were reported:
Shoulder: 46% of surfing injuries
Foot or ankle: 9%
Other (rib fracture; muscle strain or muscle laceration): 5%
“When compared to other extreme sports, surfing seems relatively safe,” said Dr. Greditzer. “However, it’s important to keep in mind that our study looked at recreational surfers. We did not include professional surfers, so the patients in our study were not able to generate as much speed, get barreled, or launch into the air like a professional or amateur can, where the potential for injury is much higher.”
Now, I’m sure Dr. Greditzer is a brilliant man and did not mean to be misguided but he left out a giant category and an even larger sub-category. Shark attacks and debilitating fear from being attacked by a shark. I have had a shoulder injury, had it surgered and know the pain but it is nothing like getting eaten whole and, from the looks of our recent shark-pocalypse not as likely. I would put “shark eating” above “shoulder” and when debilitating fear is factored in… Well, I would simply like to see this study re-done.
Also, I don’t see “decapitation due SUP foil” anywhere on the list.