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Diving from 8 meters high can lead to injury

PANDEY, A. et al. Science Advances. 2022One of the mannequins used in the tests hits the water during a headfirst divePANDEY, A. et al. Science Advances. 2022

From what height can diving into a pool, even if the water is deep enough, cause injury? It depends on how the person jumps and which part of their body comes into contact with the water first, verified a team led by physicist Sunghwan Jung of Cornell University, USA. The group recorded a series of measurements by dropping life-size mannequins equipped with force sensors into a tank of water. Three diving positions were tested: headfirst with no protection from the hands, headfirst with hands stretched out to hit the water first, and entering the water feet first. With each technique, the part of the body that hits the water first has a distinct geometric shape that alters the force of the impact. Based on the measurements, the researchers concluded that an average adult is most vulnerable to injury from heights greater than 8 meters (m) when diving headfirst, 12 m when diving with hands outstretched, and 15 m for standing jumps. The calculations made by the team suggest that after muscle strengthening and jumping technique training, it is possible to safely dive from heights ranging from 18 m to 26 m (Science Advances, July 27).