- Lee Dingle, a father of six, died late last week after he was hit by a wave on a North Carolina beach.
- His wife, Shannon, explained that a wave knocked him to the ground, breaking his neck. "Some heroes—including our kids—tried to save him," she wrote in a heartbreaking Instagram post. A GoFundMe has been set up to help support the family.
- Doctors explain why injuries caused by waves are more common than you may think, plus how they can be fatal.
A father of six died late last week after he was hit by a wave on a North Carolina beach. Lee Dingle was killed in a "freak accident," his wife said on social media.
The 37-year-old was playing on the beach at Oak Island on Thursday with three of his children when a wave knocked him to the ground. "An intense wave hit him just right to slam his head into the sand and break his neck," his wife, Shannon Dingle, wrote on Instagram. A GoFundMe set up for the family says that Lee's throat swelled "so much that his brain was deprived of oxygen for too long to recover."
Lee died on Friday, despite efforts to save him. Oak Island Water Rescue shared on Facebook that it and other agencies provided emergency care and "advanced life support" to Dingle minutes after the accident.
"Some heroes—including our kids—tried to save him, but it wouldn't have mattered what they did. His body couldn't recover from the initial injury," Shannon wrote in her post. "We met when I was 18 and he was 19, and we've been together ever since. I wasn't supposed to be saying goodbye at 37. I don't know how to be a grownup without him, but I'll learn. I just wish I didn't have to."
An update to the GoFundMe also states that Shannon and her children are "doing as well as can be expected," adding, "Lee would be so moved to see all of the care surrounding his family."
How common are injuries caused by waves?
Injuries caused by ocean waves happen more often than you'd think. "They're not uncommon at all," says Neel Anand, MD, professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. "We see quite a bit of spinal injuries from waves." However, he says, it's rare for someone to actually die from this.
Waves can cause severe injuries like paralysis, leaving someone unable to swim to the surface, and ultimately drowning, says David Gatz, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. It's also possible to injure a certain part of your neck that can stop the diaphragm from working and leave a person unable to breathe, he says. "These injuries can be horrible," Dr. Gatz says.
What can you do to stay safe in the ocean?
Waves are unpredictable and it can be hard to prevent a situation like this. Still, Dr. Anand recommends knowing what's on the ocean bottom and, if it's rocky, being very cautious about going in the water when there are waves. Also, if you're not a good swimmer, it's best to stay away from the waves, he says.
If winds are high and the waves are strong, be especially cautious, Dr. Gatz says. Finally, he recommends a buddy system, just in case. "Make sure someone else knows you're out there," he says. "But ultimately, pay attention to the ocean."
Lee and his wife were raising six children, four of whom they adopted. "He was a dream employee and coworker, a good friend, a loving, dedicated father, and a wonderfully kind person," a coworker said of Lee to CNN. To support his family, you can donate to their GoFundMe here.
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Father Dies in "Freak Accident" After Wave Breaks His Neck At the Beach, Source:https://www.prevention.com/health/a28468530/lee-dingle-wave-freak-accident-north-carolina/