Deer hunting is a popular recreational activity in the United States. Although the risks associated with firearms are well known, the hazards related to deer stands are not widely appreciated. From September 1982 through December 1989, there were 19 patients admitted to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics for injuries sustained from falls related to deer stands. One death occurred, and six of the 18 survivors remain paralyzed. Data from 18 of these patients showed that 83% of these falls (15/18) were associated with hunter-constructed stands. Structural failure accounted for 39% (7/18) of the accidents; other causes included carelessness, falling asleep, and medical events. Four of the 19 patients (21%) had elevated blood alcohol levels on admission. Fracture of the spine and long bones accounted for the majority of the injuries, and seven of the 18 survivors (39%) were hospitalized for more than 4 weeks. Eight of the survivors (44%) remain permanently disabled. Deer-stand-related falls may result in significant long-term disability, expensive and lengthy hospitalization, and even death. A preventive approach to these injuries is paramount, and published guidelines for safety while hunting from deer stands should be followed.
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