By Lauren Wanko
When the temperatures rise, folks flock to the beaches to relax on the sand, cool off in the water or go for a bike ride. But many of these summer time activities lead to injuries, and instead of lounging in a beach chair, people become patients in a hospital bed.
“In the summer at Jersey Shore Trauma Center we see a remarkable increase in volume,” said Dr. Adam Shiroff, chief of trauma.
Since 2013, from May to September the Trauma Center at Jersey Shore University Medical Center has seen a significant spike in injuries related to bikes, boats, falls, motorcycles, the ocean, pedestrian, pools, recreations and skateboarding.
Dr. Shiroff says a significant percentage of the patients get admitted to the ICU because of life-threatening injuries.
“Anything from with multiple broken ribs to traumatic brain injury requiring major brain surgery,” he said.
Dr. Shiroff says they typically treat more than 200 kids a year with traumatic injuries. The Trauma Center’s staffed 24/7 with in-house surgeons, specialty trained nurses and other tech staff.
Many of the kids end up at the Trauma Center because they fell or were hit by a car — often while the driver was backing out, says Shiroff.
“Be mindful of people crossing the street. The young pedestrian struck is a huge problem,” he said.
This time of year, the ocean fills up with swimmers and surfers.
“We see a lot of accidents actually from surfers, a lot of spinal cord injuries,” Shiroff said.
Sadly, over the years, the medical team has seen how quickly a relaxing dip in the pool can turn into a parent’s worst nightmare.
“Last year on Father’s Day we had a number of near drownings. Thankfully everyone did OK,” Shiroff said.
Even seasoned bicyclists like Bob Spony takes his safety seriously. He travels more than 100 miles a week on his wheels.
“This is my bloody glove,” he said.
In October 2013, he was hit by a garbage truck.
While wearing a helmet, which he credits with protecting him from sustaining a life-altering brain injury.
“This is the cracks of my helmet,” Spony said. “I was sent flying. My head hit the ground and I was knocked out.”
He was transported by helicopter to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center Trauma Unit where he underwent surgery on his arm.
“The biggest threat to a bicyclist who either falls or is struck is the lack of a helmet, which is a huge injury prevention move,” Shiroff said.
Dr. Shiroff hopes people will remain cautious this weekend and throughout the summer. He prefers to see these beds empty. As for Spony, he’ll keep riding — carefully.