Thursday, 7 February 2019

Revisiting Death

This week in New Zealand, a South Korean was killed after colliding with a bus after going down the Te Paki sand dunes, it's a sad time and officials have pointed out that this death could have been prevented.

The last recorded sandboarding deaths were in 2009, 2010, 2013, and now 2019, which if you've seen my post from 2016: Deadly Dangers of the Dune. I recorded an average of 0.6 sandboarding deaths per year, now that figure has dropped to 0.36 deaths per year as of February 2019.

I drew another conclusion that Sandboarding is safer than Table Tennis, whilst that is still technically correct, with only 7 deaths in table tennis between 1997 and 2006, but it was only studied in Germany; whereas the 4 sandboarding deaths between 2009 and 2019 took place in 2 countries, all instances apart from the one in 2013 occurred in New Zealand, the 2013 death was in Namibia. (It's worth pointing out that the link from the original article to the study is broken I have attached a replacement.) At the bottom of the page, it has been noted that "Most of these risks are far lower than might have been thought, even with skydiving or hang gliding.".

Wayback Machine. 2019. Risk of dying and sporting activities. [ONLINE] Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20160415041017/http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/risk/sports.html. [Accessed 7 February 2019].

It's unlikely that this happens on a regular basis, however there are ways during sport where death is approaching, whether it's a freak accident by colliding into someone or something, being collided by someone or something, animals and plants, natural disasters, extreme heat, extreme cold, or even pre-existing conditions which could increase your risk of dying such as diabetes, cancer, or heart problems.

There are preventable ways to stop death in its tracks.

  • Always be aware of your surroundings when you're on the dunes and keep an eye out for anything suspicious, plan ahead whenever possible by looking out for weather forecasts and potential safe places.
  • Don't go too fast. If you're a beginner on the dunes, try going half way up to the summit so you won't be able to achieve a faster speed coming down, this works because you still get a speed where you feel exhilarated coming down and you don't have to walk up as high.
  • Know your limits. If you're exhausted, you're not confident on slowing down after a certain speed or you feel like you're losing control of your slide, take a break.
  • Know about problems before you go sandboarding. Whether it's medical problems which may be more challenging after sport, or especially if you're going to an exotic location, get immunised for illnesses prominent abroad; the most common ones are Hepatitis and Malaria.

I know death is a morbid subject, but wherever you want to sandboard, please remain safe.


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