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A review of 149 Divers Alert Network emergency call records involving diving minors.

INTRODUCTION: Minors have been scuba diving for decades, and while the initial concerns about potential long-term complications related to bone development appear to be unfounded, the incidence of scuba diving injuries among them has been poorly studied.

METHODS: We reviewed 10,159 cases recorded in the DAN Medical Services call centre database from 2014 through 2016 and identified 149 cases of injured divers younger than 18 years. Records were analysed for case categorisation on the most common dive injuries. Information about demographics, level of training, risk factors, and relevant behavioural aspects were collected when available.

RESULTS: While the most common reason for the call was to rule out decompression sickness, the majority of cases pertained to ear and sinus issues. However, 15% of the dive-related injuries involving minors had a final diagnosis of pulmonary barotrauma (PBt). While no reliable data is available on the incidence of PBt in adult divers, the authors' impression based on personal experience suggests that the number of cases of PBt in minors trends higher than in the general diving population. The narratives on some relevant records describe unmanageable levels of anxiety leading to panic.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the results and narratives on these cases, it is reasonable to infer that psychological immaturity, suboptimal management of adverse situations, and inadequate supervision might have led to severe injuries among these minor divers.

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