Cheerleading is evolving into a more athletic and competitive sport for many schools, even though it used to be considered a sideline activity. Experts say concussions now top the list of injuries sustained by high school cheerleaders. One recent study shows that cheerleading ranks 18th-lowest out of 22 high school sports in terms of injury rate. But of all the sports studied, cheerleading ranked second - behind gymnastics - in the proportion of injuries that resulted in an athlete being benched for at least three weeks or for the entire season. The study, which examined data from a national high school sports injury surveillance system between 2009 and 2014 study published in the Journal for Pediatrics says 31% of cheerleading injuries are concussions. What's even scarier is that many cheerleaders don't report their injuries. However, the study says, concussion rates were significantly lower in cheerleading (with 2.2 per 10,000 athlete-exposures) than all other high school sports combined (3.8 per 10,000 exposures) and all other girls' sports combined (2.7 per 10,000 exposures).
We love a good parade here in Northwest Florida. There are Christmas parades, Mardi Gras parades, St. Patrick's Day parades and during the summer we have weekly parades to entertain those who come to visit the Emerald Coast. We thought it was prudent to put out some safety tips for parades, especially after reading about the tragedy that occurred this past weekend in New Orleans. According to WEAR, Channel 3, at least 12 people were critically injured when a vehicle plowed into a crowd watching a parade in the Mid-City section of New Orleans. 21 people were hospitalized after the crash. Police say the suspect was taken into custody and is being investigated for driving while intoxicated.
The autumn can be a beautiful time of year, but it also comes with a number of dangers. Here are three of the most common problems you can come across on the roads and what you can do to avoid getting into an accident.
Unfortunately, the roads in our part of Florida can be congested because of popular tourist destinations and the beautiful beaches of the Panhandle. Naturally, vacationers and locals alike are out and about in the sunny weather as pedestrians taking advantage of all our area has to offer. When motorists drive negligently or recklessly, they can tragically strike walkers and runners, causing injury, disability and even death.
The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act more commonly known as the "Toxic Substances Control Act Reform" bill was recently signed into law and strengthens what environmental commentators considered to be one of the weakest environmental protection laws on the books. The bill revamps the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 ("TSCA") by allowing the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to regulate existing chemicals while also allowing EPA to propose regulations that would regulate the introduction of new chemicals.
We recently went to a farm for pumpkins, sunflowers and fall festivities. As we bounced up and down on the hayride, I started to think about the possible liabilities in "agritourism". I expect that inviting the public to your farm increases your liability and legal responsibilities. First, what is an agritourism activity? An "agritourism activity" is any agricultural related activity consistent with a bona fide farm or ranch or in a working forest which allows members of the general public, for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, to view or enjoy activities, including farming, ranching, historical, cultural, or harvest-your-own activities and attractions. An agritourism activity does not include the construction of new or additional structures or facilities intended primarily to house, shelter, transport, or otherwise accommodate members of the general public. An activity is an agritourism activity regardless of whether the participant paid to participate in the activity. In 2013, Florida passed a law limiting the legal liability of landowners, agritourism operators, and employees for the inherent risks associated with the activity. This protection is afforded to those who post a notice of the risks. What is considered an inherent risk? Inherent risks of agritourism activity means those dangers or conditions that are an integral part of an agritourism activity including certain hazards, such as surface and subsurface conditions; natural conditions of land, vegetation, and waters; the behavior of wild or domestic animals; and the ordinary dangers of structures or equipment ordinarily used in farming and ranching operations. The term also includes the potential of a participant to act in a negligent manner that may contribute to the injury of the participant or others, including failing to follow the instructions given by the agritourism operator or failing to exercise reasonable caution while engaging in the agritourism activity.
The Northwest Florida Daily News reported that last Thursday a 34-year-old temporary City of Milton employee was killed after being pinned between a garbage truck and another vehicle. At 7:10 a.m., the Milton man was collecting road debris on Magnolia Street and was in the process of putting the debris in the back of the garbage truck when another vehicle collided with the back of the garbage truck, pinning the 34 year-old male. The media release from the City of Milton said the male was pronounced dead at the scene. Moreover, the driver of the other vehicle, who is not being identified, was flown from the scene with critical injuries. A similar crash killed a 55-year-old sanitation worker in Destin in November 2000. A man was killed while emptying trash cans on Calhoun Avenue in Destin when he was pinned between the truck and a car that rear-ended the truck.
Fourth of July is here and too many of us forget that fireworks are dangerous explosive devices. New numbers from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission show that fireworks deaths rose in 2014, killing nearly a dozen people and sending more than 10,000 to the hospital. Always follow safe practices around fireworks whether you are attending a professional production or using consumer fireworks in your driveway.
With summer here, safety officials in Florida are urging beach-goers to stay safe in the water. After a near-drowning incident recently, one Dothan man saw the dangers high waves can bring, first-hand. It's a moment retired Dothan Police Officer, Keith Gray, won't soon forget. "I saw a group of people and I ran as fast as I could without thinking. I jumped in the water and swam to where they were, and there was this unconscious female face up. They were holding her above the water, but you could clearly see there was no life in her body," said Keith Gray, Dothan resident.Gray and another man performed CPR on the 14 year old Texas girl before EMS officials arrived. "Thank God she came back," said Gray. What is unfortunate is that drownings are a recurring problem. Why? We have so many people that come into our area and they are not familiar with their swimming ability or the flag system and how to read it. With only four rescuers on duty this summer, Carol Wagner, Beach and Surf Patrol Supervisor in Panama City Beach, says it can get overwhelming with the large amount of tourists in one area at one time. She urges vacationers to not only take a look at the flag colors, but also learn their meanings before even coming to the beach. Flags range from green to double red. Green, being the best conditions. While double red means the water is closed to the public. Wagner also says it's important to know your own swimming ability before getting in the water.