Lifesavers’ spinal injury alert in dumping conditions
LIFESAVERS have repeated warnings about the risk of spinal injuries on some of the Sunshine Coast's most popular beaches because of a forecast rise in swell today.
SLSQ duty officer for Sunshine Coast, Guy Tanner, said while Mooloolaba and Noosa tended to be the most dangerous beaches for spinal injuries, they could happen on any beach and even in small surf.
"When we get south-easterlies the swell usually misses Mooloolaba, however,
over the last week we have had easterlies which are more likely to bring with them dumping waves," he said.
The swell is forecast to peak at almost two metres later today.
Since January 1 there have been nine suspected spinal injuries on Sunshine Coast beaches - three at Noosa, two at Mooloolaba, two at Double Island and one each at Sunshine and Coolum beaches.
That is down on the 12 cases reported in the same period last year.
The most common cause are bodysurfers hitting the sand headfirst.
"Spinal injuries are something we look after a lot," Mr Tanner said. "Anyone who presents with a bump on the head we treat as a suspected spinal."
Lifesaving operations support co-ordinator David McLean echoed Mr Tanner's warning and said swimmers should check the depth of the water, bodysurf with their arms out in front of them and avoid drinking alcohol before going swimming.
"People need to remember that spinal injuries are irreversible and it is so much better to prevent these injuries from occurring in the first place," he said.
- BRETT WORTMAN