Doctors report increase in injuries involving outdoor activities in the Ozarks

Published: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:57 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Emergency crews ask you to assess your health before participating in strenuous outdoor activities.

Park rangers on the Buffalo National River responded to three medical emergencies, two canoeists and one hiker. Emergency crews say all three were over the age of 40. A canoeist died of an apparent heart attack after flipping. It took park rangers 40 minutes to arrive on scene. Another man hiking suffered a broken hip. Emergency crews reached all three patients by boat to an ambulance or helicopter.

Activities like hiking, canoeing and kayaking have become even more popular in the Ozarks.

“Just because people were staying indoors, and I think people have kind of gotten fed up and are making that trip outdoors to have fun and too get back outside and try to be healthy and exercise and do play things,” said Michael McEvoy, Mercy Physician Assistant. “So I definitely think it’s an increase from last year.”

Emergency crews say remote areas without solid cellular phone signals make rescues more difficult. You can also take some precautions when doing outdoor activities. The National Institutes of Health suggest you:

-Carry identification

-Let others kn your plans

-Wear light-colored clothing

-Carry a flashlight

-Wear appropriate shoes

-Watch for tripping hazards

-Stay hydrated

-Wear a life jacket on water

-Watch for underwater obstacles

McEvoy says they’re also seeing injuries from things like ATV and bicycle accidents. For those activities, he says it’s important to always wear a helmet.

Read these tips:

Missouri State Parks Tips:,from%20the%20American%20Red%20Cross.&text=Never%20swim%2C%20wade%20or%20access,children%20unsupervised%20near%20the%20water.

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