Recreational and Competitive Surf Lifesaving Injuries Associated With Inflatable Rescue Boats Derived From an Online Survey of Members: Technical Report #3 to Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ)
Diewald, SN; Hume, P; Wilson, BD; Wooler, A; Merrett, R; Fong, DTP; Reay, S; Smith, V
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Background: Due to their speed and manoeuvrability in often adverse sea conditions, inflatable rescue boats (IRB) were thought to cause injury to the crew members by Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ). Purpose: To use a questionnaire to quantify risk factors, aetiologies, and mechanisms of IRB‐related injury associated with surf lifesaving activities in order to prescribe injury prevention strategies. Methods: An on‐line survey for SLSNZ members who completed a self‐reported retrospective questionnaire. The “Sequence of Injury Prevention” approach proposed by van Mechelen, Hlobil  was applied to the questionnaire findings. Results: Of 259 questionnaire respondents, 196 were included in the analysis (124 males: 39.1 ±17.1 years; 70 females: 24.9 ±11.9 years). Younger females experienced significantly more patrol injuries than older males. The most frequently injured body sites were the lower back (15.3% of respondents) and ankle (19.4% of respondents). Sprains and strains were the most reported injury types. Aetiology of injury was established as landing in the IRB for 14.8% of respondents. Chronic injury symptoms were reported by 15.6% of respondents. Discussion: Utilisation of IRBs during surf lifesaving has a risk of injury to the lower extremities and back, particularly in younger females. Results are most likely an underestimate due to low respondent rates. Future research should consider lower extremity and back strength intervention strategies to help prevent IRB‐related acute and chronic injuries. Conclusion: Sprains and strains were the most common types of injuries for the lower extremity and back. Landing activities were most frequently reported as causing IRB‐related injuries. Chronic injuries were reported which may impact long‐term outcomes from surf lifesaving participation.