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Staying safe in the summer months

Posted at 5:39 PM, May 24, 2023

Spring came late this year, but we’ve already reported serious accidents related to spring and summer activities…hiking, climbing, and riding bikes and motorcycles.

By definition, emergency rooms see people in their moments of greatest need, and the ER staff see just about every serious case of traumatic injury. Those injuries change with the seasons.

“As we shift into the warmer months, we tend to see people getting out more they're riding more motorcycles they're getting on their mountain bikes, they're recreating in the outdoors a lot more whether it's hiking, rock climbing, even swimming and possibility of drownings increases as well,” said Dr. Adam Ball, who directs many of Utah’s busiest emergency rooms for Intermountain Health.

Flash flooding deaths this week, motorcycle deaths in Utah, Salt Lake and Weber Counties in the last three weeks…and summer still on the horizon.

“The conversation where we have to tell a family member or a loved one, or a very close friend, that their family member or friend has been severely injured, that they will have lifelong devastating injuries or will not survive the accident. Those are horrific conversations that are very emotionally charged, very hard to deliver, and even harder to deliver in the event that some of those injuries may have been prevented,” said Ball.

Trauma kills more Americans 45-years-old and younger than any other cause. Traumatic brain injuries are the most common cause of traumatic deaths, killing 50-thousand Americans a year – many of them in car or motorcycle crashes.

Take every mile driven in America. Less than one percent is on a motorcycle, but motorcycle riders account for 14-percent of all traffic deaths.

“When it comes to motorcycle accidents or you know, mountain biking accidents, wearing a helmet is going to be the single most important thing that those individuals can do to protect themselves from severe head injury. The use of a motorcycle helmet is going to significantly reduce the chance of severe brain injury by about 70% reduces your chance of death from an injury on a motorcycle around 42%,” said Ball.

While we saw a string of three motorcycle deaths recently, in St. George this past weekend there would have been a fourth, police say, but the young rider wore a helmet and should recover well.