Tuesday, February 09, 2010

They Don't Like It Up 'Em

One of my beats for The Times is to report on rowing, a sport that I regret not doing properly at university (such little time, so much drinking to be done).

You would think that it is a fairly safe sport, with the main risk being back injuries or catching something delicate in the seat runner, but this medical report that I was sent today makes you think again.

The title is bad enough - "55-year-old man impaled in rowing accident" - but the opening paragraph brings tears to your eyes:

"The patient was sculling on the Charles River in Boston when his boat collided head-on at approximately 7:20 a.m. with an eight-person shell moving in the opposite direction; both boats were estimated to be traveling at 24 to 32 km per hour. The sharp prow of the larger craft entered the left side of the patient’s lower back, above the iliac crest, and exited the central portion of his lower abdomen above the pubis."
He fell into the river but was pulled ashore and taken to hospital where, despite "loops of intestine protruding from the wounds", he was given routine surgery and allowed to return home within a fortnight. There are photos of that protruding bowel should you not be too squeamish.

There is one element of the story that really disturbs me, though. The accident happened at 7.20am! Crazy fools, as Mr T said. You're just asking for trouble if you are going to be up taking exercise at that hour.

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