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Surfing Injuries, in London?

Having just returned from a wonderful family holiday in Cornwall, surfing capital of the UK, I can honestly say that we’ve never treated a surfing injury at BOOST PHYSIO.  There are 2 possible reasons why this could be- either very few surfers injure themselves, or could it be that surfing isn’t big in North West London?

At least it’s only his board that’s broken!

I guess most people who contemplate surfing are more concerned about getting chomped by a shark and not too concerned about a sprained ankle or dislocated shoulder, but a little research into the injury incidence of surfing is quite revealing.  A study of all surfing and body-boarding injuries from the emergency department of the Royal Cornwall Hospital showed that males injured themselves 4 times more than females (click here to read the article). 

Is this because us men are more reckless and stupid when surfing that we are more likely to try surf a bigger wave than our female counterparts?  This ratio of 4 male patients to every 1 female patient with a surfing injury is very similar to our statistics at BOOST PHYSIO, across all sports (running, football, netball etc).  I think to generalise this is because more men are exercising for recreation and for fitness than women and hence we see more men with sports injuries.  Secondly I think the psychology of the sportsman leads him to push his boundaries to the excess, the male is more likely to try and run faster, jump higher and in so doing is more likely to injure himself.

What surprised me in this study was the average age of those with surfing injuries was 27 years old- I was picturing  Silver Surfers (no not over 60’s who are internet savvy, but those carrying surf-boards) limping in to the hospital! While it may be true that there are more youger people surfing and hence more injuries to younger people, I think it is also down to the experience of the older surfer that make them more aware of their limitations and less likely to push themselves into hazardous situations.  It is likely that older surfers haven’t recently taken up the sport, but have been participating for many years and are thus more knowledgable about the dangers of the sport and more conditioned to the sport- I have termed this “Berkman’s law of sensible older people who exercise and don’t get injured as often”.

Surf’s Up

The same holds true for most other sports injuries that we see, the club tennis players in their 50’s and 60’s tend to play within their capabilities and do not push themselves excessively (but there are exceptions- David you know I am referring to you!!!).  As with all things in life there are exceptions and I believe that football is the exception.  We treat many footballers over 45 who present with injury at BOOST PHYSIO.  This does not conform with Berkman’s Law of sensible older people who exercise and don’t get injured as often.  I believe that the psychology of men who play football beyond the age of 40 is such that they are trying to run faster and kick harder than they could when they were 20 and thus more likely to do themselves a nasty injury.  The over 40 footballer is less likely to accept his limitations.

To summarise : if you are a female, not 27 years old and living in NW London you are less likely to suffer a surfing related sports injury- grab a board and dive in- Surf’s Up!

Oh and if you do surf and injure yourself- BOOST PHYSIO in Hendon specialises in treating NW London surfers!

by: Steven Berkman the BOOST BLOGGER

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