<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=133753460593199&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

FOTO Rehab Outcomes Blog

Injury Rates in Cliff and Splash Diving

My curiosity drove me to post this study. I didn't know there was a such thing as splash diving. The only kind of "splash" diving I was aware of was back when I was a kid and we tried to have the biggest splash with a cannonball. I still remember goofing around trying to make a big splash by doing a belly smacker. That was a one time only intentional choice. To better understand this study, I found some videos. Think of it as a lesson in observing our body's amazing ability to move... and instead of watching someone's gait, you are watching movements in the air. Also, keep your eyes on how the body enters the water. cliff-diverI was familiar with cliff diving. I hadn't seen any competitions like what's in this video. I have a fear of heights, so I don't think I'll ever experience this kind of experience or the beauty of being on a cliff. Pay attention to water entry.

Now compare what you see in splash diving. There seems to be a much different water entry. 

I find beauty in how competitive athletes move as they perform during their events. I realize that this particular post may not necessarily have a ton of value to most of you. Enjoy the talent you see... observe the movement patterns... compare water entry styles... and do what you do best - observe how you think injuries could happen. More importantly, if you treat a diver, you have learned a couple of different types of events that divers can compete.

Below you will find a quick view of the abstract. 

A prospective analysis of injury rates, patterns and causes in Cliff and Splash Diving.




Information about injuries and its differences in Cliff Diving (CD) and Splash Diving (SD) are unknown. It was the aim to analyse (1) injury rates, patterns and causes; (2) differences (in injuries) between both disciplines; and to (3) identify targets for future injury prevention interventions.


From April to November 2013, 81 cliff and 51 splash divers were prospectively surveyed with an encrypted, monthly e-mail-based questionnaire.


During a total of 7857h diving with an average diving height of 13 (±7)m, an overall injury rate of 7.9 injuries/1000h of sport exposure was reported. Cliff divers most commonly suffered from injuries of the foot and ankle (18%; n=24) and neck and cervical spine (14%; n=19). In SD, the lower limb (52%; n=43) and lower back (23%; n=19) were most frequently involved. In 79% (n=49) of the cases, the injury happened while entering the water. Cliff divers were in 52% (n=15) of the injuries in a feet-first and in 14% (n=4) in a head-first position. Splash divers were in 45% (n=9) of the injuries in a back- or buttocks-first position. Most of the injuries were bruises (47%; n=104) and muscle strains (13%; n=28). The injury risk during practice was significantly higher than in competition (11.3 vs. 4.5 injuries/1000h; OR 2.5; p=0.001). The injury risk of experts (15.4/1000h exposure) was significantly higher than in professionals (6.3/1000h exposure; OR 2.4; 95% CI, 3.3-1.9; p<0.001), although the average diving height was significantly higher in professionals (19m±8 vs. 12m±6; p<0.001). Significantly more professionals performed dryland training compared to experts (p=0.006).


Most of the injuries are related to the water entry. The entry position plays a key role in injury patterns with pursuant differences comparing CD with SD. Although most of the injuries involved soft-tissue only, severe injuries have been reported. Targets for future injury prevention strategies include protection for the increased impaction at entry; adaption of the diving conditions in practice to those in competition; dryland training courses; and instruction of non-professional divers to teach appropriate diving techniques.

 2017 Aug 5. pii: S0020-1383(17)30520-X. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2017.08.007. [Epub ahead of print]