Noelle Swan

Beachgoers beware: Local study shows potential risks of playing in surf

In Healthcare on July 3, 2013 at 8:45 am

This article was first published by, the online arm of Delaware’s NPR News Station on July 2, 2013.

1024px-Rehoboth_Beach_at_Delaware_Avenue“Never turn your back on the ocean. It’s the equivalent of closing your eyes and running across four lanes of traffic,” says Paul Cowan, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes.

More than 1,000 patients have sought emergency medical treatment for blunt trauma injuries sustained while cooling off in the Southern Delaware surf since 2010, according to an ongoing study conducted by Beebe Medical Center and the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program.

“Every person who rides a motorcycle knows that they are engaging in a dangerous activity; but not every person that gets injured in the surf has any idea that what they were doing was any more dangerous than just walking on the sand or walking on the boardwalk,” he adds.

Most beachgoers know to look out for stinging jellyfish, to slather on sunscreen, and to keep a close eye on young children in the surf; however, few are aware how easily a wave can knock adults off their feet.

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