Orthopaedic Injuries From Deer Stands and Their Functional Outcomes


Hunters who fall from deer stands can sustain a variety of injuries. A retrospective review was conducted at a single institution to gauge the experience in treating patients injured in falls from deer stands from 2002 to 2008. Medical records were analyzed for patient demographics, tree stand characteristics, and injury details. Patients were contacted to complete a SF-12 health survey to assess their functional outcome following their injuries. Of the 30 patients who sustained a fracture, an average of 2.08 fractures were sustained per patient. Sixteen patients sustained a spinal column fracture, and four of these sustained a spinal cord injury. Twenty-one patients underwent at least one surgical procedure by the trauma surgery (two), neurosurgery (four), or orthopaedic surgery (15) teams. The importance of understanding deer stand instructions should be emphasized during hunting education classes, and all hunters should follow safe hunting recommendations pertaining to firearms and tree stands. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 22(2):123–126, 2013)

Michael S. Hughes, MD; Michael W. Bauer; Gregory J. Della Rocca, MD, PhD; and Brett D. Crist, MD