Injuries from alcohol-induced night sledging on the rise

A letter in this week's BMJ has highlighted the alarming increase in the incidence of injuries resulting from sledging at night and after drinking alcohol.

In addition to causing staffing problems, poor clinic attendance rates, and an increased number of falls, the recent snowfall -- mirrored across much of Europe -- has produced an increase in sledging injuries, wrote Dr. Alice Clarke and colleagues at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, U.K. A large number of these injuries were associated with sledging at night and/or after the consumption of alcohol.

Twenty orthopedic injuries caused by sledging were experienced at the hospital within three days, and they occurred in all age groups and varied in severity from minor fractures to serious injuries, according to Clarke and colleagues. One patient needed surgery for a ruptured spleen, and another had a degloving injury of the scrotum and buttocks.

In a previous cold spell, a patient died after hitting a tree at speed, the authors added.

As a result, they emphasized the dangers of sledging and recommended that it be avoided in poor light and after drinking alcohol.

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