The purpose of the study was to compare tubing-related injuries to wakeboarding- and water skiing-related injuries. Data was collected from the 2000-2007 National Electronic Injury Surveillance Survey for 1,761 individuals seeking care at an emergency department due to a tubing-, wakeboarding, or water skiing-related injury. Data included patient age and sex, as well as injury characteristics including body region injured (i.e., head and neck, trunk, shoulder and upper extremity, and hip and lower extremity) and diagnosis of injury (e.g., contusion, laceration, or fracture). Case narratives were reviewed to ensure that a tubing-, wakeboarding-, or water skiing-related injury occurred while the individual was being towed behind a boat. Severe injury (defined as an injury resulting in the individual being hospitalized, transferred, held for observation) was compared among the groups using logistic regression. Wakeboard- and tubing-related injuries more commonly involved the head and neck, while water skiing- related injuries were likely to involve the hip and lower extremity. Tubing-related injuries, compared to water skiing-related injuries, were more likely to be severe (OR 2.31, 95% CI 1.23-4. 33). Like wakeboarding and water skiing, tubing has inherent risks that must be understood by the participant. While tubing is generally considered a safer alternative to wakeboarding and water skiing, the results of the current study suggest otherwise. Both the number and severity of tubing- related injuries could be prevented through means such as advocating the use of protective wear such as helmets while riding a tube or having recommended safe towing speeds prominently placed on inner tubes. Key pointsIncrease annual injury rate trend in wakeboard injuries.Wakeboard- and tubing-related injuries more often to head and neck, waterskiing-related injuries more often to hip and lower extremity.Tubing-related injuries over 2-times as likely to be severe compared to waterskiing-related injuries.
Keywords: Water tubing; epidemiology; injury.; wakeboarding; water skiing.