Possible spinal injuries on the river can be a terrifying thought but, using the water to assist your situation could make all the difference.
Justin Padgett standing in the cold waters of the Tuckaseegee river demonstrates how to use water to assist in spinal immobilization. Head and neck injuries are serious when it comes to whitewater. As an ex river guide I’ve told countless people that are ready to cool off on a hot summer day by jumping out of the raft into the water to enter feet first. It’s an default command command and has always served well. People everywhere try to be like Jacques Cousteau and fall backwards out of the raft and can hit there head or injure their neck at any moment creating one of the worst river injuries there could be.
During this swiftwater rescue course from the ACA I learned about the plethora of ways a spinal injury could occur on the river. The most important lesson taken from the class was how to use the river to your advantage if you suspect a spinal injury by immobilizing the victim in the water.
Here is a video filmed during the Swiftwater Rescue Conference and Justin calls on his years of expertise to give concise information and call to action for this powerful river scenario.
Spinal immobilization is a rough topic but sometimes tough decisions have to be made. Justin Padgett is a great instructor who teaches incredible wilderness medical courses. I highly recommend taking one of his classes to move with purpose when needed.