Jumpers and fallers: a comparison of the distribution of skeletal injury.
AIM: The aim of this study was to compare the distribution of injuries between patients who have fallen and those who have jumped from a height, and to relate the mechanism of injury to the fractures sustained. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three hundred and ninety-nine patients, admitted via Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS), classified as either having fallen or jumped from a height were included in the study. The radiographs from the primary survey, together with radiographs of specific injury sites were analysed. The distribution of injury was compared in the two groups. RESULTS: Of the 399 patients, 342 were fallers and 57 were jumpers. Jumpers had a higher Injury Severity Score (ISS), death rate and number of fractures per person. Jumpers sustained more rib fractures (particularly on the right), pelvic and lower limb fractures but fewer skull fractures. CONCLUSION: Jumpers tend to sustain different injuries to fallers. It is proposed that jumpers have a tendency to land feet-first and then try to break their falls on their dominant side, sustaining more right-sided rib fractures in the process. The patterns of injury that have emerged from this study have important implications for evaluating skeletal injuries in those who jump or fall from a height.