Recreational scuba diving has gained in popularity in the past 20 years. In the United States alone, there are nearly 9 million certified divers. Recreational scuba diving is pleasure diving to a depth of up to 130 feet without stopping to decompress.
With all activities, there is a certain degree of risk involved. The same is true for scuba diving. The good news is that the majority of common injuries are not particularly serious. In fact, the most common medical problem associated with scuba diving is a “squeeze.” A squeeze is a minor injury that affects the middle ear or face mask during descent. They cause pain in the ears.
As the name would suggest, the pain is caused by the different levels of pressure in the air spaces in the ears and mask and the water pressure as the depth gets greater. The pressure difference squeezes the inner ear. These injuries less frequently affect the inner ear or the sinus cavity. Cuts, scratches, and other minor injuries are common to the arms and legs.
The two most serious medical conditions associated with scuba diving are barotraumas to the lungs and decompression sickness. Decompression sickness is better known as the bends. Barotrauma occurs when a diver rises to the surface too quickly. The quick ascent causes the air inside the lungs to expand which hurts the surrounding body tissues. In some cases, this condition can be serious enough to cause a lung to collapse. In addition, the injury may allow air to escape into the blood, causing an arterial gas embolism.
Decompression sickness, the bends, can occur during a diver’s ascent but also on the surface of the water. This condition is caused by inert nitrogen bubbles in the blood stream becoming loose and forming bubbles in the blood. The nitrogen bubbles can injure various body parts and are capable of blocking blood vessels.
While these injuries are serious, serious medical problems are not common among recreational scuba divers. Of the millions of dives that take place each year in the United States, only 90 deaths are reported each year in the world. Also, less than 1,000 divers worldwide require recompression therapy to treat medical conditions that are due to a dive.
If you have been injured during a scuba diving accident, contact the Lake Geneva scuba diving injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-275-1729 to discuss your case and to determine your legal options.