Walking Into Danger
The Age newspaper’s Adam Carey last week wrote a story about a new study commissioned by Victoria Walks that analysed five years of falls injury data in Victoria, between 2009 and 2014, and found injury rates are gradually rising, with an average 1680 people a year spending a day or more in hospital and 3545 presenting to emergency. His story focussed on Sister Helen Mary Langlands, a long time COTA member and supporter. Adam wrote:
‘Sister Helen Mary Langlands likes to look at the heavens as she walks, but a trip on an uneven footpath while walking to church in St Albans sent the 82-year-old nun crashing to earth.
She broke her wrist in three places and was told she would never regain full movement of the joint. An avid craftswoman, the diagnosis left her “very miserable for a while”, she said.
In her misery, she has company. Sister Helen Mary is one of more than 5000 people a year who fall in the street and injure themselves severely enough to require treatment in hospital, a figure that outstrips pedestrian injuries in the road toll.
But falls from walking receive a fraction of the attention that road injuries to pedestrians do, in part because the scale of the problem is little understood – in Victoria, nobody has ever counted the number and type of injuries from falls before now.