Injuries Increase as Temperatures Rise

by John McKiggan

According to a recent report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information an average of 45 Canadians are hospitalized every day in the summer as a result of injuries from wheel and water sports.

“Summer is a great time to be active and enjoy the outdoors, but it is also a peak period for motor vehicle injuries and trauma related to wheel and water sports,” said Greg Webster, director of Primary Health Care Information at CIHI.

CIHI has been collecting data for the last 10 years. Their investigation show that cycling injuries account for half of all sport and recreation related hospital admissions.

Thousands of Cycling Injuries Every Year

In 2009-2010 more than 4000 Canadians were hospitalized as a result of cycling injuries with almost half of those injuries occurring in the months of June, July and August.

Good News

The good news is that while the number of cycling injuries that resulted in hospitalization has remained stable over the last 10 years the number of head injuries has decreased significantly (from more than 900 to 665) for the same period.

Nova Scotia Among Fewest Injuries

When the data is broken down by province hospitalization results were highest in the west (British Columbia and Alberta) and lowest in Ontario and Nova Scotia. No doubt that has to do with Nova Scotia’s early adoption (in 1997) of mandatory helmet legislation. Reseach published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggested that the rate of cycling head injuries in Nova Scotia dropped by more than 50% after the introduction of the mandatory helmet law.

Public Education Still Needed

While the results are encouraging, Canadians still have a long way to go. The other night I was walking though Hemlock Ravine Park when a family (two adults and three children) rode by me on mountain bikes. All three of the children had helmets on but neither one of the adults did.

Another example of the old saying: “Do as I say, not as I do”. Perhaps mom and dad would be more likely to wear their helmets if they read the CIHI report that found that 78% of cyclists who were hospitalized with a head injury were not wearing their helmet when their injury occurred.

Have a safe day and enjoy what’s left of our summer.

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