by John Galcius, May 2, 2009
Diving boards are fun. And rarely dangerous. There must be over a million dives performed every year. High dives, cannonballs, belly flops; too many to keep track of! We can keep track of diving and diving board accidents, however. According to a USA Today report, 6500 children and teens have to visit hospital emergency rooms each year because of swimming pool diving injuries.
Many pool builders, service companies and community pools are leaving diving boards out of new projects and pool renovations more and more, due to cost and safety concerns. Becoming more popular are sliding boards, pool slides, diving platforms and rocks. Or nothing at all.
Landscaping, vanishing edges and multi level pool decks have slowly replaced diving boards in many parts of the world. The sound of kids going off the diving board is becoming harder to hear these days, due to increased safety awareness and unfortunately, countless crippling and life ending diving tragedies. I heard of a statistic years ago that claimed that more young men are issued wheelchairs for diving board accidents than motorcycle accidents! Hopefully, this trend is reversing.
It should be noted that the large majority of life threatening or crippling diving board accidents occur to young men, age 18-25, usually of large stature, usually half drunk, and always showing off! They tend to dive too far out and dive too deeply, mis-judging the slope of the pool bottom. Broken neck, severed spinal cord.
The Eye Opener
Schutz v. Blue Dolphin Pools. The first public court case to bring attention to diving board accidents. It started with the story of a teenager in Virginia who suffered a crippling diving board accident. The courts held the pool builder, the diving board manufacturer and The National Spa And Pool Institute liable for the accident. It was only after all of the attention brought on by the accident, did the swimming pool industry hire Arthur D. Little Co. to study the issue. The first finding released said that most diving accidents were mainly caused by the behavior of individual divers who were unaware of the possible risks.
He went on to recommend that the industry “teach and warn the public that diving without proper caution and training, whether it be in pools or in the natural environment, involves risk of injury to the cervical spine.”
Diving Board Rules
1) Never dive or use a diving board under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
2) Always wait until other divers or swimmers leave the diving area before diving.
3) “Look before you leap”
4) Never allow more than one person on a diving board at one time.
5) NEVER dive into the shallow end of a pool.
6) Keep diving area and pool deck clean and free of toys or pool equipment.
7) Keep your dive controlled. Never dive towards the shallow end of the pool.
8) Dive off of the end of the diving board or diving platform. Do not dive off of the side.
9) Bounce only once. No running dives.
10) Never hang on the board.
Be safe this Summer! Use Proper Diving Techniques!