Huge surf causes spinal injuries – Manly Daily

17 Jan 11 @ 04:24pm – Manly Daily –

(not actual picture from the article – great use of the spinal board though)

TREACHEROUS surf conditions across the NSW coast resulted in the biggest number of spinal injuries in one weekend that the northern beaches has seen in over a decade.

Waves up to three metres high with wave periods of 14 to 16 seconds, as a result of tropical cyclone Vania, indicated a powerful swell that forced lifesavers to close some of the area’s beaches.

“In the last 10 to 15 years we haven’t had that number of spinal injuries in one weekend,” assistant director of rescue services Richard Andjelkovic said.

“It was an unusually high number and – from a branch perspective – it was a very busy weekend.”

On Sunday afternoon alone there were two spinal injuries at both Bilgola and Narrabeen and one at Queenscliff, duty officer Doug Lucas said.

The most serious was a 38-year-old man who had to be airlifted and transported to Royal North Shore Hospital after he went over the top of a wave while body-boarding and crashed into a sand bank, hitting his neck.

“He couldn’t feel anything from the waist down and was in a huge amount of pain,” Mr Lucas said.

“The conditions were unfriendly in the afternoon – the tide was fairly low and the waves were breaking right on the bank.”

The extent of the man’s injuries are yet to be confirmed.

The youngest victim, a 14-year-old male, was also rushed to hospital after diving headfirst into a sandbank at Long Reef Beach.

“People need to take it day by day and listen to what the lifeguards recommend, otherwise you wait for injuries to happen,” Mr Lucas said.

Yesterday, lifeguards were forced to temporarily shut all Pittwater, Manly and Warringah beaches except for Freshwater and Collaroy.

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Simple Instruction conducts Apply First Aid (formerly Senior First Aid) and Perform CPR courses every fortnight at the Brookvale Hotel on the Northern Beaches Sydney.

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