British seniors have experienced a 4-fold increase
in extreme sports casualties since 2006
Normally reserved for the teenagers and 20 somethings, dangerous sports are attracting an influx of retirees. Nearly a fifth of all injury claims resulting from sports such as diving, mountaineering and skiing, were made last year by Britons aged 70 or over compared to just 5 per cent in 2006.
Specialist insurer Perkins Slade, which insures groups such as the British Mountaineering Council, said the high proportion of claims came despite the over 70s making up just 5 per cent of its customer base.
Richard Doubleday, director of sport at Perkins Slade, told The Daily Telegraph: “There has been a sharp increase in the number of older people in accidents. It wasn’t long ago that the over 70s made up just 2 per cent of our claims. There’s no question that the evidence shows that the older you are the greater risk you present. While people are undoubtedly getting fitter and healthier, our figures show that the number of accidents after 70 increases dramatically.
“While older people may think they are capable of undertaking risks with their bodies, the reality is that they are more vulnerable.”
However, he added: “The participation in hazardous activities is much safer than what it was five years ago. The reality is that 70s is the new 50s – we are much fitter and aware of opportunities to take advantage of these sports.
“Taking part in hazardous activities isn’t cheap and it is often only later on in life that you have the means to do it.”
More than a third of the 212 people in British scuba diving incidents requiring medical treatment last year were over 50, according to figures by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
It said the numbers of incidents as well as the proportion of victims over 50 has “increased significantly” in comparison with previous years.
Joanne Groenenberg, a spokesman for the MCA, said older people taking part in high-risk sports such as diving should first make sure they have done the right health checks.
“People are living longer, are fitter and have more money to spend on leisure activities, so it is no surprise that we are diving longer into retirement age.
“But there are risks and divers need to be aware of these. They need to make sure that they get a health check to reduce the hazards and ensure they are generally fit and healthy.”
The warning comes after an adventure-seeking pensioner was killed when she was hit by car while on a cycling trip around Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.
Vivienne Tremain, 66, of Beccles, Suffolk had already ridden more than 6,000 miles when the accident happened eight months into her tour.
She was hit from behind by a white Ford Fiesta near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Australia.
Mrs Tremain, a widow, died instantly in the early morning crash. The 25-year-old male driver of the car was taken to hospital where he was treated for shock.
Via The Telegraph