Belly Flopping: Is the entertainment worth the potential risk?

In Health and Safety, Medical, ProTrainings, Summer Safety by Elizabeth Shaw5 Comments


Believe it or not, there are people have made a profession out of, yes, belly flopping.

“Darren Taylor, aka “Professor Splash,” professionally jumps from high ledges, landing belly-down in a small pool of water. Even reality shows have caught on to the entertainment value of a well-executed belly-flop; ABC’s “Splash” features celebrities executing dives poorly.”

For those of us who are less than stellar at diving, there is hope on the horizon: Belly-flops rarely cause serious injuries. Nevertheless, you should know about what can happen, other than an injured dignity.

Obviously, the higher you jump or dive from, the faster you will hit the water. “Some experts believe that you can reach speeds of up to 40 mph diving from a 10-meter board (almost 33 feet).” And, even though the water feels quite nice when you’re in it, it does not feel so nice when you enter it at high speeds.

“The most common injuries seen with belly-flops are contusions or bruising of the skin. Rarely do these bruises go deeper and affect your internal organs, but they can. Deeper abdominal injury from belly flops is known as blunt abdominal trauma. It is similar to being hit on the belly really hard. It can affect organs such as the liver, kidney, pancreas and the bowels. Not only is the abdomen taking the brunt of the landing into the water at a high velocity, there is also sudden deceleration, both of which can cause trauma to the organs. Children are more vulnerable than adults because they have less abdominal fat and a relatively larger abdominal cavity.”

The biggest danger comes in when people jump from high ledges without knowing how deep the water is below.  Hitting the bottom of the pool, lake or river headfirst could cause a spinal injury, which could lead to paralysis or death. After a belly-flop, it is normal for the skin to sting for a while. If the pain is persistent, or if you see blood in your urine or stool, you should see a doctor right away.


Here are some safety tips from an article on

Always make sure the pool is deep enough before you dive or intentionally belly-flop. When in doubt, always jump feet first. A pool with a 1-meter springboard must be a minimum of 11.5 feet deep at the point directly under the edge of the diving board. For a 3-meter board, the water must be 12.5 feet deep. For a 10-meter platform, the water should be 16 feet deep.

Also, be sure to dive off the tip of the diving board. Never dive from the side, as there is a risk of hitting the side of the pool or landing painfully on a sloped bottom near the wall.

Helpful hint: If you find yourself turning from swan to hippo in mid-air, try to lessen the blow by breaking the water with your fingers or feet. When you fall flat, the larger surface area causes a bigger impact.

Bottom line: Swimming is a great activity, and kids are unlikely to injure themselves by just being kids. Follow these simple safety rules and provide supervision — even for good– to have a fun, injury-free summer!



Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth Shaw

Elizabeth enjoys teaching and dancing as well as being a violinist in a local orchestra. She loves reading and writing materials that range everywhere from short stories and poetry to medical dictionaries and encyclopedias. She enjoys sharing her talent for the written word by being a regular contributor and test and training editor here at ProTrainings.

More Posts

Follow Me:
TwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus


Leave a Reply