Thoracolumbar fractures associated with the use of personal watercraft

Avshalom Carmel, Michael J. Drescher, Yosef Leitner, Rueven Gepstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Personal watercraft (PWC) are in widespread and growing use. Injuries involving PWC have been reported, but to date no report has focused on spine injuries as a result of this activity. Methods: We report a retrospective case series of spinal injuries related to the use of PWC that we term "wave-jumper's fracture." Results: From 1995 to 1999, eight patients suffered spinal fracture after operating PWC. The mechanism of injury was of a "hard landing" on the seat of the PWC after becoming airborne. The average age was 36 years (range, 20-51 years). Fractures were compression or burst type injuries at the thoracolumbar transition zone (T12-L2). Only one patient suffered a transient neurologic injury. No patient required surgery. Conclusion: There is a mechanism of injury in PWC use where axial loading may cause thoracolumbar fracture. The public and physicians should be aware of the risks involved in the use of personal watercraft.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1310
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Injury
  • Personal watercraft
  • Spine
  • Thoracolumbar


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