Objective.—To identify injury patterns in canyoneering and develop a sense of their frequency.
Methods.—A web-based survey of canyoneers was developed. Questions regarding injuries experienced or treated, first aid training, and first aid supplies carried were included.
Results.—A total of 38 responses were received. Cutaneous injuries were very common (average \[nm2 per person per year), but of apparently low morbidity (no evacuations required). Orthopedic injuries were also common (1 sprain/strain per person every 3 years on average, and major injuries happening to 1 in 2 canyoneers during their career), as were environmental injuries. First aid preparedness, in terms of training and kits, varied quite widely, but there was significant interest in further training.
Conclusions.—Minor cutaneous and orthopedic injuries are common, but fortunately do not often require outside assistance. More significant injuries are less common and usually involve orthopedic trauma or environmental exposure. A first aid curriculum for canyoneering should cover stabilization of fractures, analgesia and evacuation techniques as well as minor wound care.