A free Project Wipeout educational DVD and materials are available to schools
and lifeguard departments locally and throughout the United States. In
Orange County, educational presentations by Project Wipeout and Orange
County lifeguard representatives are provided to schools and community
organizations. Call 949-764-5501 for more details.
Download Project Wipeout Materials
The Project Wipeout DVD is seen by thousands of elementary, junior high
and high school kids every year. It is also used in many Lifeguard and
Junior Lifeguard Programs around the country. Hoag’s Project Wipeout
teaching packet is available free of charge to schools and non-profit
community organizations. The packet includes a Wipeout Beach Safety DVD
and a sample copy of the Wipeout Beach Safety Brochure, Activity Book
and Coloring Book, which can be used in conjunction with the DVD. Hoag
Hospital representatives and Orange County Lifeguards are available upon
request to give Wipeout Beach Safety presentations to your class or group.
Lifeguards are typically the first person at the scene of a beach accident,
and victims with a suspected neck or spinal cord injury present a serious
challenge to the rescuer. Administering proper stabilization techniques
is vital in order to prevent further injury, and can even make a difference
between life and death. For the last 32 years, Hoag has sponsored a Project
Wipeout Lifeguard Seminar. It provides updated information on lifesaving
techniques and equipment, first responder assessment and management guidelines,
and issues such as water quality, potentially dangerous marine life and
other topics of particular concern to lifeguards.
Community and Sporting Events
Project Wipeout has a strong presence in the community. Educational booths
are set up at various community events such as health fairs, public safety
events and large events like the Orange County Fair, reaching thousands
of people of all ages every year with its beach safety message.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injury Information
Some common injuries that occur at the beach include sunburn, cuts, abrasions,
burns from fire pits, and fractured or dislocated shoulders, wrists and
ankles. Surfers are cut by their surfboards, skim boarders break their
wrists and ankles when their boards stick to the sand and body surfers
and boogie boarders injure their shoulders when thrown into the sand by
waves. These injuries can be easily treated and the victim will likely
experience a full recovery.
But neck and spinal cord injuries are a different story. While much less
frequent, these injuries are permanent and sometimes fatal. Most neck
and spinal cord injuries are caused by the tremendous strength of the
ocean’s waves forcing your neck and spine into harmful, unnatural
These injuries can occur in a variety of ways. When your body tumbles in
the waves, gets thrown by the waves to the ocean floor or when your head
spears into the sand, your head can be forced down onto your shoulders,
pushed forward into your chest or pushed backward further than it can
The spinal or vertebral column is made up of irregularly shaped bones,
or vertebrae, soft spongy discs, which act as shock absorbers for the
spinal column, nerve tissue called the spinal cord which runs through
the center of the vertebrae, and supporting soft tissue including muscles
and ligaments. The vertebrae support the muscles and protect the spinal
cord. The spinal cord needs this protection since the cord itself is only
the consistency of pasta. The extent of damage from an injury varies depending
on the degree and type of force that is exerted on the spine and how it
impacts the spinal cord.
If the trauma is minor or moderate, it may only cause strained muscles
or ligaments, or fractures that will eventually heal with treatment. A
misalignment of the spinal column could result in pinching of the spinal
cord accompanied by temporary paralysis. The victim may regain mobility
as the pinching subsides, but it could mean a long and painful road to recovery.
When the trauma is severe, the vertebrae and discs between the vertebral
bones can be dislocated or even shattered. This can put significant pressure
on the cord, or even slice it in two. Similarly, ligaments that support
the spine can tear allowing the spine’s alignment to shift, again
putting pressure on or cutting through the spinal cord.
Once this type of spinal damage has occurred, there is little that can
be done medically to repair it. The result is severe pain, paralysis of
the arms and/or legs, inability to breathe without a ventilator, or even death.