Over the weekend it was reported that R&B singer Usher was enjoying time with family and friends on Lake Lanier in northern Georgia last Friday, when a man on a personal watercraft struck Usher’s 11-year old stepson and a 15-year old girl, as they were riding inner-tubes in the lake. The girl suffered a broken arm and head injury, and she was responsive as the Department of Natural Resources rangers pulled her from the lake.
The boy, however, was unresponsive as other boaters rescued him and pulled to safety on their boat. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, both children were air-lifted to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston facilities. Upon arrival, it was determined that the boy was brain dead as a result of the traumatic force of the watercraft striking his head.
Personal water craft most commonly refers to the Jet Ski, and they are a standard source of entertainment for people on open water. However, because of their vast differences from standard watercraft like boats, Jet Skis come with a considerably higher chance of danger. In fact, according to a study from the University of Florida, Jet Skis cause more head, neck, and chest injuries than any other water craft. Additionally, the top cause of injury regarding Jet Skis is collision.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were 733 marine deaths in 2010, and 672 of them were related to recreational boating accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported that between 2005 and 2009, an average of 10 people died each day from drowning, and 1 in 5 of those cases involved children under the age of 14. In many cases, even if the person is saved after an accident in an open water source, the victim can suffer significant brain damage from lack of oxygen or other reasons.