Diving Accidents: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:42 by admin
The backyard pool should be a place of family fun and relaxation. However, backyard pools equipped with diving boards may pose a grave danger.

As recently reported on CBS's 60 Minutes II, over seven million families enjoy diving board equipped backyard pools. Unfortunately, many of these pools have been improperly designed and constructed, leaving divers at risk of sustaining serious injuries.

While we all know the dangers of diving into shallow water, many of us do not appreciate the risks of diving into the deep end of a pool. After all, a diving board placed in the deep end is an invitation to dive.

Many residential pools are built to standards designed by the National Spa & Pool Institute (NSPI), an industry trade organization. Critics claim that NSPI construction standards are deficient, as pools built in compliance with the organization's standards are too shallow, consequently putting divers at risk.

The YMCA and the American Red Cross recommend that pools equipped with diving boards be at least 11.5 feet deep directly under the board, and that the "upslope" area (the angled transition zone between the deep and shallow ends) not begin its ascent less than 16.5 feet from the tip of the diving board. These dimensions allow a diver to descend and resurface without contacting the bottom of the pool. On the other hand, NSPI design standards call for only 7.5 feet under the board and 7 feet from the tip of the board to the upslope.

Pools built to NSPI standards have left several divers paralyzed and dozens more with other severe injuries. The problem appears to be in the angle of the upslope and the point at which the upslope begins. When a diver leaps from a board into an NSPI backyard pool, he is likely to collide with the upslope, suffering a facial injury, laceration, head injury and possibly spinal cord injury.

The NSPI standards were developed in 1961. In 1974 NSPI engaged a consultant to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the standards. The following is an excerpt from the consultant's report:

"Potential head strikes which could cause a quadriplegic injury to a diver occurred in six out of every nine dives" into a NSPI pool.

It is clear that NSPI has been aware of the deficiencies in its standards for years, yet the organization has done little to correct them.

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a diving accident, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Pool Accidents
  2. Broken Bones: Overview
  3. Head & Brain Injury
  4. Paralysis: Overview
  5. Spinal Cord Injury
  6. Wounds: Overview
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