Dr Mäemets: Most accidents involve electric scooters, but sports injuries are also on the rise


The warm, summery weather has resulted in an increased workload at the East Tallinn Central Hospital Emergency Medicine Centre: in addition to the usual household and workplace injuries, people are coming to the hospital with sports injuries. The workload of doctors has increased and waiting times are longer. Healthcare workers are therefore urging people to be aware of their limits when doing sports and always use safety equipment.

dr Kristiina Mäemets

According to Kristiina Mäemets, Head of the East Tallinn Central Hospital Emergency Medicine Centre, the number of people seeking emergency care is the highest in summer. “This is mainly due to a general increase in sports activities and people’s desire to spend more time outdoors and in the sun,” she explains, adding that people are often unable to reach their general practitioner in the summer or don’t know that if they are on vacation, there should be a substitute. This causes increased waiting times at the EMC for all patients.

“As soon as the weather gets warmer, the number of electric scooter accidents as well as bicycle and other sports-related injuries increases,” says the Emergency Medicine Centre doctor. “In very hot weather, people also come to the hospital with heat stroke and sunburn. The Emergency Medicine Centre also sees people with injuries sustained while gardening.”

“At the same time, these are exactly the kinds of accidents that people can easily prevent themselves,” says Dr Mäemets. “Wearing a helmet and other safety equipment when riding skateboards, scooters, bicycles and roller skates can help prevent major injuries in the event of a fall. The extremely hot weather in May and early June repeatedly reminded us of the importance of staying hydrated, using sunscreen and staying in the shade, especially during the more intense sunlight hours.”

Dr Mäemets notes that the East Tallinn Central Hospital Emergency Medicine Centre is currently working at full capacity to keep waiting times for victims of major accidents as short as possible. However, as the number of people in need of help is inevitably higher in the summer, you still need to be prepared for longer waiting times. Before going to the Emergency Medicine Centre, you should try to contact your general practitioner by phone or email or call the family doctor advice line at 1220.

10 tips for sports safety in summer

During summer, people naturally want to spend more time outdoors. Whether it’s training, summer camp or having fun with your family in nature or on the playground, these simple tips will help ensure that you don’t unexpectedly end up in the hospital.

1. Drink enough
Opt for water because it is an excellent hydrator. On hot summer days, adults can also drink mineral water or sports drinks containing electrolytes.

2. Wear a helmet
Helmets are not just for contact sports enthusiasts. They also protect you in the event of accidents involving bicycles, scooters, skateboards, roller skates, hoverboards, etc. Make sure your helmet is the right size and properly fastened.

3. Wear appropriate safety equipment
Depending on the sport, use additional equipment, such as knee, elbow and wrist guards for roller skating. Make sure that these are also the right size, as too large or too small protective equipment won’t provide adequate protection in the event of a fall.

4. Sun protection
When outdoors, use sunscreen to avoid sunburn. If UV radiation is very strong, apply sunscreen every few hours.

5. Know your limits
Understand that the body tires faster when exercising in hot weather. Therefore, make sure to take breaks to avoid overheating.

6. At the playground with your children
Before allowing your children to play, make sure that the swings, carousels and other equipment are in good condition. Do not let your children go on equipment that is not age-appropriate as they might fall.

7. Safe swimming
When going swimming with your family, opt for places with lifeguards. Never leave children unattended near a body of water.

8. Stretching
Regardless of the sport or physical activity you engage in, always make sure to stretch and properly warm up and cool down before and after exercise.

9. Know when to stop
If you start to feel pain during exercise, STOP MOVING, rest and recover. If the pain gets worse or does not improve, see a doctor.

10. Proper footwear
Proper footwear is very important, especially in summer. Don’t wear flip-flops or try to go barefoot if you plan to be active and exercise.