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Ocean Injuries More Common Than Thought

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study found that injuries caused by ocean waves are more common and more severe than you might think.

According to a release from the University of Delaware, there have been 1,121 injuries requiring emergency room treatment in the state of Delaware over the past three summers that were related to ocean waves.

Researchers worked with lifeguards to determine how many of these injuries occurred in the surf zone -- the part of the beach between the water's edge and where the waves break. Many of the 1,121 injuries occurred in two feet of water or less, with the patient being knocked over by a wave and driven into the sand.

The study determined that the most frequent beach-related injuries were to the arm and shoulder. On the contrary, neck and spinal injuries were less common than experts expected, making up just under five percent of beach injuries. The patients that did hurt their neck or spine, however, often suffered life-changing injuries.

Interestingly, many of the injuries reported in the study occurred in clusters. On 21 percent of the days studied, there were no injuries at all, whereas on 26 percent of days there were five or more injuries.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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