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Amber Scott
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Diving safety precautions as you go for the gold

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Diver Alexandre Despatie will likely compete in the London Olympics after suffering a 10 centimeter-deep head wound and mild concussion while training.

The two-time silver medalist reportedly lost his balance during an inward three-and-a-half dive. He struck his head with full force on the diving board and had to be pulled out of the water by his coach and lifeguards.

Despatie underwent surgery Wednesday morning, and then tweeted his thanks to fans for their support. He won’t be able to begin training again for three weeks. The Olympic men’s springboard competition starts August 6.

This is not Despatie’s first pre-Olympics diving injury. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that Despatie broke his foot in April of 2008 but won a silver medal a few weeks later.

The Red Cross states that diving is the leading sports-related cause of spinal cord injuries, primarily affecting men between the ages of 17 and 22. Many diving accidents occur during first time visits to a location or as a result of goofing off in back yard pools. Drinking and taking drugs causes more than half of all diving injuries and 95 percent of accidents occur in water that is less than five feet deep.

Since many diving accidents result in quadriplegia, or paralysis of all four limbs, please keep these safety tips in mind while pursuing your own Olympic dreams:

  • Respect “No diving” signs;
  • Check water depth and any hazards;
  • Dive only in clear water;
  • Do not dive in water that is 5 feet deep or less;
  • Dive in supervised settings; and
  • Always enter the water feet-first the first time.