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Two Year Tally: 284 Injuries At SoCal Theme Parks

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A state review of Orange County amusement parks for 2009 and 2010 revealed 284 ride incidents that required medical attention, according to an analysis by the OC Register.

Amusement parks with permanent rides are required by law to report to the state when a patron "seeks care beyond first aid," relating to an incident. The state investigates the most serious, approximately two-thirds of reports.

In seven Orange County locations in 2009 and 2010, about half of the 284 incidents involved medical problems to the head area - such as chipped teeth or chin lacerations - or to the torso and the spine, including neck and back pain. No deaths were noted in the reports. A few dozen of the riders had pre-existing conditions, such as seizures and back problems.

In reviewing the 284 reports, the OC Register found:

  • Ten rides, out of 76 rides that were investigated countywide, had 10 or more medical issues that prompted state investigations.
  • The Ghost-Rider wooden roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm had the most reported incidents with 28. Patrons had cracked ribs, back pain, and facial cuts.
  • Disneyland's Splash Mountain had the second-most investigations with 14. The state found no problems with the ride.
  • The number of medical problems was small compared with the number of rides taken by visitors -- ie: Knott's Berry Farm had 17 medical-issue investigations out of every 10 million rides taken; Disney incidents made up about one out of every 87 million rides taken.
  • The most investigations were at the two Disney parks, which together had 168; Knott's Berry Farm had 89.
  • The state ordered venues to make changes in 33 cases, such as ride adjustments or employee training.