The Many Dangers of Whitewater Rafting

Posted by on Oct 28, 2015 in Rafting Safety | 0 comments

The Many Dangers of Whitewater Rafting and What You Ought to Do

So you have finally decided to go whitewater rafting. You have prepared everything – your state of mind, your gear, and other items you need to bring. Everything is already green light. You wait anxiously to be picked up by your friends to go to the river system where you will have your adventure of a lifetime.

Then news breaks out. A whitewater rafter fell off his craft and hit his head on one of the protruding boulders in the rapids. He suffered contusion which caused his brain to swell. He is now strapped in the ICU of a nearby hospital.

Rafting is an Extreme Sport

The very first thing you need to understand about whitewater rafting it is not an ordinary leisure or outdoor recreational activity. Experts and enthusiasts both claim that it is now best classified as an extreme sport because of the many inherent dangers in its course.

Consider the following:
• Intermittent shallow and deep portions of the river system with unseen rocks and other hazards beneath the water surface, yet shallow enough to create turbulence in the water flow; hence, the formation of foam to produce the whitewater effect
• Strong river currents punctuated with large boulders and rocks, some bigger than a house
• Near-vertical drops that create small to medium height water falls, creating enough suction underneath
• A river course that snakes its way between boulders and vertical drops and subsurface hazards requiring very precise maneuvering

This is the reason why whitewater rafting operators and outfitters need to be duly licensed and certified. Each group of rafters on a single craft needs to have at least one highly-trained, duly-certified professional whitewater rafter. They also need to be fully trained and certified to provide first aid, basic life support, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, if needed.

The overwhelming emphasis on safety only underscores the gravity of the risks involved in whitewater rafting.

Common Injuries associated with Whitewater Rafting

There have been many studies that described the incidence of morbidity and mortality associated with whitewater rafting.

These include the following:
• Lacerations are wounds or cuts that are the result of the irregular and often jagged tearing of soft tissues in the body
• Fractures occur in bones where there is a break in the continuity of the bone structure, leading to potentially life-threatening conditions such as fat embolism leading to cardiac arrest or even cerebrovascular attack
• Dislocations occur when two bones get separated from the joint which is supposed to allow them to meet and facilitate movement
• Sprains refer to a damage or tear in one or more of the ligaments found in the joints
• Strains occur when muscles become overstretched or when the tendon that connects a muscle to the bone is damaged or torn
• Brain contusion occurs when blood vessels in the brain are ruptured because of traumatic injury
• Concussion is the most common type of brain injury more known as “being shaken”
• Bruises refer to injuries that look discolored because of ruptured blood vessels underneath the skin
• Death

What Can You Do To Keep Safe?

There are certain levels of difficulty a whitewater rafter must be able to go through as a process. Learn the ropes first and listen to what your lead rafter is instructing your group. Make sure to read as well on the first aid procedure of some of the more common types of injuries associated with the extreme sport. And lastly, gear up safely – wear only certified whitewater gear.
With this in mind, you can now go back to your whitewater rafting adventure, safe and secure in the belief that, should something wrong happens, you are now better equipped to handle it.

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