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Lake Regional Sees Surge in Trauma from Cliff Jumping

This year, Lake Regional Health System has seen a 41 percent increase in trauma patients who were injured while jumping, diving or swinging into the water.

Cliff jumping injuries are on the rise in the Lake of the Ozarks region. This year, Lake Regional Health System has seen a 41 percent increase in trauma patients who were injured while jumping, diving or swinging into the water.

“Cliff jumping might sound exciting, but it is extremely dangerous,” Mariah Swinker, R.N., B.S.N., Lake Regional trauma nurse coordinator said. “It can cause serious injuries or even result in a fatality.”

Common injuries associated with cliff jumping are dislocated joints, broken bones, compression factures, injured discs, paralysis, rectal/vaginal trauma, collapsed lung, broken ribs, ruptured eardrum and drowning.

A big threat when cliff jumping is speed. Speed builds up quickly when you are airborne. If you jump from a 20-foot height, you will hit the water at approximately 25 mph. Jumps from higher cliffs, such as a 70-foot fall, can result in speeds of 45 mph or more.

Many people are under the impression that the water will soften their fall; however, it can feel more like smashing into a brick wall. Professional divers train for years on perfecting their form to absorb the pressure from the impact, but even they are not invulnerable to injuries. When cliff jumping, you also run the risk of hitting something in the water, such as a rock or log.

“Cliff jumping can look like a lot of fun and no one expects to land badly,” Swinker said. “However, it is important to remember that any jumper can get severely injured regardless of their experience level.”

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