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Geocaching For Special Needs Kids?


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As some of you know, I am a pediatric hematologist who treats kids with bleeding disorders. We constantly struggle with the need for sports that give kids their chance to be cool and compete, but not at the cost of a serious bleed. Track, Golf, and Cross Country are all sports that the hemophilia community pushes. Since these sports contain elements pertaining to geocaching, it occurred to me to start telling patients about this as an alternative sport.


Before I go too far in this direction, I wanted to poll the group as to what kind of injuries you have received while geocaching. (bad cuts, sprains, fractures, etc).


(number of injuries versus time spent geocaching)


Thanks for your help.

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I have yet to receive any injuries but by choosing appropriate caches I can't see the risks being much higher than light hiking. you might turn an ankle or nick yourself on a tree but other than that I would think you are pretty safe usnless you go for the underwater or rock climbing caches.

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The worst injury I received was when I impaled my hand on the frozen stump of a reed. Lost lots of blood. But it was a 3.5 star terrain cache. Other than that, it's been nothing more than scrapes and scratches.


I think if people stick to 1 or 1.5, or even 2 star terrain, the chance of injury is no more likely than walking down a city sidewalk.

Edited by briansnat
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In 600 or so cache hunts, I've had two serious injuries, neither of which should be of concern to the kids you're trying to help. The first was due to clumsiness on steep (3.5 star) terrain. While scaling a slippery, rocky hillside, I tripped forward onto a branch sticking straight up from the trunk of a fallen tree. Branch punctured shin, blood everywhere. My daughter rushed up with a concerned look on her face and said "Daddy, does this mean we can't find the cache?" After applying pressure and a gauze bandage, and locating a stick suitable for use as a crutch, we found the cache 20 minutes later. It was a fake boulder on a hillside full of boulders.


My second serious injury was when I fell 12 feet into an icy stream from the icy trail that ran along its undercut bank. There had been a thaw/freeze cycle overnight and I really should not have been out geocaching in those conditions. It took a week for the bruises to disappear, and ten days for the limp to subside.


In both cases, the caches themselves were quite safe under normal conditions. Avoiding challenging terrain and bad conditions should minimize the risk.


With your extensive experience as a geocacher, I'm sure you could come up with a list of recommended caches that will provide a fun challenge that is also safe.

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