View Full Version : Eye injuries - a cautionary tale
20th Oct 2011, 19:10
Hello. Not sure if this is the right forum for this thread, but it seemed most appropriate.
For those of you who, like me, enjoy watersports (yes, yes, not that sort), please take note of my recent unfortunate accident and take care of your eyes...
I took up water skiing a few months ago and also started doing a bit of wakeboarding, which was fantastic fun. Anyway, I had my fair share of wipeouts as I learned where my bravery overtook my talent. A couple of weeks ago I started jumping the powerboat wake on the wakeboard and after landing my first successful jump got all excited and didn't straighten up. The board dug in and I face-planted heavily. On surfacing I realised my vision was not right at all and immediately went to A&E.
Long and short of it is that I had partially ruptured the cornea in my right eye and after an operation to stitch it back up I'm now on a long and very anxious road to recovery. I currently am unable to drive or work. It has been horrendous, and I don't know yet what quality vision I will have when all's done and dusted.
My consultant said that he's seen it before, caused by very similar accidents.
So really it's just to say please, please go careful and consider wearing some sort of eye protection if this is the sort of sport you do. A lot of you will fly for fun or commercially...this sort of thing would put a stop to that, obviously!
I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
20th Oct 2011, 22:06
Rotten luck. But eye protection just will not stay on under those circumstances - unless goggles are bolted into your skull. The edges of fairly firm goggles will do more harm than the water.
Trying to turn when airborne is difficult, but by far the best way. An arm around the eyes is pretty standard, but I know that even at 40 mph, one's face can be chiseling a grove in the water before you know it.
Don't know how some people get away with high speed crashes. 40 mph can have limbs flailing, and 80 is a lot more energy than twice as much.
21st Oct 2011, 20:37
I once lost my front teeth surfing at Watergate Bay. Had to go to see an emergency dentist at the time-outside my usual comfort zone of the guy who known me for many years and ponces about whilst tapping my sensitive molars.
I remember having my head held inbetween her rather large chest, as she was pulling shards of teeth from my front gum with a pair of plyers. (Is it right to experience pain and pleasure at the same time?)
All credit where it's due, she did a fantastic job, even down to matching the coffee stains on the enamel.
She made me promise that I would wear a gumshield whilst surfing in future, a promise that I kept for at least 3 years.
Occurred to me, after a big Fistral wipeout, that actually the gumshield could cause more harm than good (a lasting memory of the RNLI lifeguard thinking that he could make the front page of The Newquay Voice by performing a "Penknife" Emergency Tracheostomy on a stoopid tourist with a gumshield and some seaweed stuck in his trachea ) made me reliquish my promise.
Guess there's some fulcrum on the risk/balance that we all have to discover. I know one thing, sitting on the couch is watching Friday night TV is probably riskier in the long run.
Hope you're doing ok B&T's. :)
21st Oct 2011, 23:01
Water-skiing is dangerous, full stop. Water can contain floating objects that do damage upon contact, even at 30kts. I've known a barefooter who lost the entire sole of his foot when he hit a floating piece of wood. Mind you, he was doing some considerable speed.
After tearing back tendons (numerous times), knee ligaments (coming off at 55kts when the speedboat driver changed direction without indication to me), and suffering various other minor injuries, I came to the conclusion that water-skiing would eventually kill me, so I gave it up.
It wasn't a decision I made lightly. I realise now, that the greatest amount of fun we had was not actually skiing, but riding a plain, circular disc of 10mm marine ply about 1.2M in diameter, and trying to keep it up and stable.
Anything over about 12-14kts saw you come off, as the drag on the ply exceeded your ability to grip the board with your feet.
However, I did end up pulling a marvellous and entertaining stunt of carrying a wooden chair upon takeoff with the disc, whereupon once one was up and skimming with the disc, one (very carefully) could swing the chair around behind oneself, and place it in the correct position on the disc, thus enabling one to sit in the chair whilst skimming along happily at 12 kts.
However, the biggest entertainment part for spectators came when one parted company with the chair and the disc when the boat driver sped up, or one lost some concentration. And yes, I do have pics. And yes, it was a long time ago.
B&T, I don't know what the solution is to your problem. Probably taking up knitting. There's a degree of risk in everything we do, and the danger of injury increases with speed. I trust you regain full vision again, and that you suffer no long-term consequences.
22nd Oct 2011, 11:17
Hello again. Thanks for the replies. Loose, you're probably right about the goggles- could end up quite nasty if they were ripped over your face at high speed! Ahh, the things we do to make life interesting, eh? My wife always thought the aerobatics was dangerous, but the only injury I got from that was a finger getting trapped in the harness ratchet!
Knitting?? Have you seen the size of those needles?? Lethal!
23rd Oct 2011, 00:46
I took to water skiing like a duck to water but up on a slalom ski at 50+knots one needs to be a tad careful. One day I wasn't and stepped off head first into the water with eyes open. I swear half the river entered my cranium via my eye sockets and I did wonder where the fun was for a while. I think goggles would be torn off in most (water) ski falls.