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Reference ID: #a46c2810-389b-11eb-acea-25260fb2d03d

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Injuries in commercial whitewater rafting on the New and Gauley rivers of West Virginia

Affiliation

  • 1 North Carolina State University, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Raleigh, NC. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • PMID: 23870766
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.wem.2013.04.003

Injuries in commercial whitewater rafting on the New and Gauley rivers of West Virginia

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Authors

Affiliation

  • 1 North Carolina State University, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Raleigh, NC. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • PMID: 23870766
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.wem.2013.04.003

Abstract

Objective: To describe the rates, patterns, and likelihood of injuries in commercial whitewater rafting on the New and Gauley rivers, West Virginia.

Methods: Standardized injury report forms developed by the West Virginia Whitewater Commission were reviewed for years 2005-2010 to provide a statistical account of injuries reported by licensed commercial rafting outfitters operating on the New and Gauley rivers.

Results: Overall, musculoskeletal injuries (sprains/strains, 21.1%; dislocations, 13.8%; fractures, 12.2%) comprised the majority (47.4%) of incidents followed by injuries to soft tissue (lacerations, 29.0%; abrasions, 13.3%; contusions, 2.3%). Almost one half (44.3%) of injuries were to the head, neck, and shoulders followed by the lower extremities (foot/ankle/leg/knee/hip, 33.9%) and upper extremities (hand/wrist/arm, 14.3%). Data analyzed using the Somers’ D statistic revealed the likelihood of an injury occurring inside the raft is P = .55, and P = .39 when passengers are ejected from the raft into the river. The most likely injuries to occur to passengers are a laceration (P = .51) or a sprain (P = .20). The main probabilities for the risks of injuries were found to be to the head (P = .24), shoulder (P = .16), and face (P = .13) of the passenger.

Conclusions: By knowing what injuries are common, their likelihood of occurrence, and the settings in which they happen, commercial outfitters can initiate practices to reduce injury rates.

Keywords: Gauley River; New River; West Virginia; commercial whitewater rafting; guides and outfitters; whitewater rafting.

By knowing what injuries are common, their likelihood of occurrence, and the settings in which they happen, commercial outfitters can initiate practices to reduce injury rates.