This paper presents an analysis of 67 neck injuries incurred in diving and sliding accidents in swimming pools. The accidents were investigated to establish the appropriate medical and mechanical factors involved. A mathematical model was developed to allow the prediction of the trajectory and velocity of the subjects prior to their injury. Nine of the accidents were selected for real life simulation. The simulation included the selection of test subjects of similar physical build to the accident victims who then performed the maneuvers leading to the injury, but in deeper water. High speed movies (200 frames per second) were taken, above and below the water, to measure the motion. A frame by frame analysis provided data to determine the trajectory and velocity profiles of the test subject. The maneuvers studied included diving from the pool edge, diving from various board types and sliding down various sliding board configurations.
A potential injury mechanism due to a snap roll resulting from dropping the head and/or hands, causing a sudden increase in drag, was demonstrated. Information on dangerous impact velocities is presented through a comparison of the real accident and the simulation.
The majority of the neck injuries were of the flexion-compression type resulting in fractures through the vertebral body and an anterior dislocation.