“The Segway® may seem cool, but there’s nothing cool about a head injury,” said Mary Pat McKay, MD, MPH, FACEP, of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “One-quarter of the patients who came to our emergency department with Segway injuries were admitted to the hospital. Forty percent of the admitted patients were admitted to the ICU because they had traumatic brain injuries.”
Researchers examined the records for 44 patients who came to the emergency department with injuries sustained while riding the Segway. Only 7 percent of the patients had worn helmets, which are not required by law for Segway riders in Washington. The number of cases increased significantly over time, with three cases appearing in 2006, eight cases appearing in 2007 and 25 cases appearing in the first 11 months of 2008.
“All of the injuries were sustained by riders simply falling off, mostly from striking an inanimate object,” said Dr. McKay. “Segways are pretty new to the marketplace and it’s often only as products become popular that the risks involved become apparent. We urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission to assign the Segway a unique product code and collect data on injuries sustained from riding the Segway so we can develop a clearer idea of the scope of the problem. In the meantime, all Segway riders should wear helmets and pay close attention to what is in front of and around them when riding.”
Annals of Emergency Medicine is the peer-reviewed scientific journal for the American College of Emergency Physicians, a national medical society. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research, and public education.