For the most up to date information on COVID-19 please visit the Department of Health website. Learn more about how the AIHW is assisting the COVID-19 response and how our other work is affected. Our Covid-19 related resources page includes a list of some existing resources which may be useful when researching issues related to COVID-19.
Spinal cord injuries from diving and other water-related accidents doubled between 1995-96 and 1996-97, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Flinders University of South Australia.
The report, Spinal Cord Injury, Australia 1996-97, presents national statistics on new cases of spinal cord injury from traumatic causes.
Of the 25 diving and water accidents resulting in spinal cord injury, 40% were in the surf, 20% in swimming pools and 40% in other water-related situations.
Report spokesperson Dr Raymond Cripps, from the AIHW's National Injury Surveillance Unit at Flinders University, said it was difficult to know what to make of the apparent increase in water-related spinal cord injury over such a short period.
'We really need better information over a longer period to do a proper analysis of this issue. There are a few gaps in the information we have for earlier years, but we are hopeful of fixing this with the help of the Directors of Australia's six specialist spinal units.
'Over the recent summer there have been several anecdotal reports in the media of an increase in water-related accidents-I suspect that we may well see another rise in these figures in 1997-98.'
Dr Cripps said that diving and water-related accidents comprised 11% of spinal cord injury accidents compared with 27% for motor vehicles, 23% from high falls, 11% from low falls (less than 1 metre), and 11% for unprotected road users (predominantly motor cyclists).
'What is of potential concern is that water-related accidents resulting in spinal injuries are highly prevalent in people in the 15-24 year age group. For this group they are second only to transport accidents as the cause of spinal cord injury.'
'Another worry is that the spinal injuries from diving are generally very severe. The number of cases of complete tetraplegia from diving was the same as the number for motor vehicle occupants.' (Tetraplegia is loss of function in the arms, legs, trunk and pelvic organs).
Other findings in the report include:
We'd love to know any feedback that you have about the AIHW website, its contents or reports.
The browser you are using to browse this website is outdated and some features may not display properly or be accessible to you. Please use a more recent browser for the best user experience.