Golf Injuries: A Review Of The Literature (P6)
Although uncommon, other types of injuries can occur on the golf course. These include syncope of a golfer after hitting a drive and turning the head after being distracted whilst putting. Treatment given to this golfer was a transvenous ventricular demand pacemaker, with the mechanism of the event being sinus arrest due to the sudden turning of the head. Golf is an 18-hole event that takes 4–5 hours to play a standard round. This is a long time to be exposed to the elements, particularly the sun in summertime. As a result, sunburn and sunstroke are a distinct possibility as is dehydration if inadequate fluids are consumed. Skin cancer in the form of melanoma is a potential hazard of long-term exposure to the sun, a factor that may predispose the older golfer to this condition. In cold and wet conditions, hypothermia is a rare occurrence, although frostbite of the toes may occur in non-waterproofed shoes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many golfers acquire an almost fanatical zeal to the game. This results in golfers continuing to play despite adverse environ mental conditions. In poor weather, lightning strikes can occur. Popular professional Lee Trevino was struck by lightning in 1975 playing in the West ern Open at Butler National Golf Club in Chicago. The freak accident permanently damaged the flexibility and sensitivity of his lower back, but with a series of operations, he was able to recover from injuries sustained and go on to the upper echelon of golf. Although uncommon, lightning strikes can cause serious injury to the cardiovascular and neuro logical systems.
Golf is not considered to be a strenuous activity. Research has shown 108 beats/minute to be the mean heart rate over 18 holes in healthy middleaged men. Further studies have been conducted on the effects on hilly courses on heart rate. They report that a peak of 70% in males and 80% in females of maximum heart rate was found on some hills. Considering that individuals in the older age groups play golf, there is seen a decrease in cardiac output with increasing age and it is often in these older groups that cardiovascular insufficiencies tend to be present, the golf course is a potential site of cardiovascular problems for golfers.
Parkkari et al. found that walking during golf was a safe form of activity in healthy sedentary middle-aged males, while study on the cardiovascular load whilst pulling a cart at golf for nine holes showed that for players without heart disease the game provided an adequate training stimulus. The same study found that for those with heart disease and/or are less fit, there was a chance that they could exceed their safe activity level. Con versely, Unverdorben et al. found that competitive golf in cardiovascular patients reached an intensity that may positively influence cardiovascular risk factors, depending on the type of the course.
As a result, studies into the cardiovascular requirements during golf have found that golf on a level course can be considered an activity that provides a level of cardiovascular exercise that is in a safe range, and has potential benefits. However, on hilly courses, the cardiovascular effort required by golf may potentially result in the exceeding of a safe level in those with cardiovascular insufficiencies.