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Water-tubing may cause traumatic brain injury

The brain is the most vital organ of the body; the body cannot function without it. A traumatic brain injury can lead to paralysis, permanent disability or even death of the victim. Although the terms "traumatic brain injury" and "head injury" are used interchangeably, head injury is a broader term, which encompasses other injuries like skull fracture and scalp damage.

As Connecticut residents might be aware, slip-and-fall injuries, motor vehicle accidents, shooting accidents and sporting accidents are the most frequently reported causes of head injuries. However, there is yet another cause, although much less discussed. That is head injury from water-tubing accidents.

Although water-tubing is a fun activity, where people ride on an inner tube, which is pulled by a boat, the rising number of water-tubing accidents is concerning. According to a recent study, the U.S. has witnessed an increase of around 250 percent in water-tubing injuries over the past 19 years.

Head injury is the most common water-tubing injury, accounting for approximately 27 percent of water-tubing injuries, followed by arms, legs, sprains and soft-tissue injuries. The leading cause of water-tubing injuries is water impact, which accounts for about 49 percent of injuries. The second most common cause is physical contact with another rider.

Children and teens participating in water-tubing activities are more susceptible to head injuries resulting from running into a fellow rider compared with adults. The reason for the higher incidence of head injury among children and teens may be due to overloading of the tube. Multiple riders may be accommodated on a single tube.

Water-tubing accidents are often due to the boat operating companies' failure to follow the basic safety guidelines relating to the number of riders allowed per tube, caution while operating the boat and providing personal floatation devices to riders. Other factors such as incorrect positioning, lack of directional control and velocity also contribute to such accidents.

In the event of a water-tubing accident involving violation of the basic guidelines, victims may be able to sue the operator of the boat or another potentially responsible party, like the manufacturer of the tube, for negligence. Water-tubing accidents may lead to TBIs frequently, requiring long-term care and constant medical evaluation, treatment or even surgeries. Accident compensation, under these circumstances, may help a brain injury victim with medical expenses, therapy costs and rehabilitation costs.

Source: News.health.com, "Water-Tubing Injuries on the Rise," Feb. 15, 2013

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