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Motorcycle Collisions Involving White-Tailed Deer in Central and Northern Wisconsin: A Rural Trauma Center Experience

Nelson, R Scott DO; Gustafson, Paul T. DO; Szlabick, Randolph E. MD

Journal of Trauma-Injury Infection & Critical Care: June 2006 - Volume 60 - Issue 6 - pp 1297-1300
doi: 10.1097/01.ta.0000174662.28239.f8
Original Articles

BACKGROUND: Risk of deer motorcycle collisions (DMC) continues to increase in Midwestern and East Coast States and is a growing regional public health issue.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all motorcycle collisions involving animals over a 9-year period from October 1993 to October 2002. Data collected included Injury Severity Score (ISS), injury type, outcome, use of helmets/alcohol, time of year/day.

RESULTS: Fifty-five DMC were identified, 49 drivers, and 6 passengers. ISS for helmeted patients was 6.02 ± 4.6 and 17.6 ± 14.9 for non-helmeted patients. There were 7 human fatalities (all without helmets). Of the 55 patients, 16% of those injured were intoxicated, without helmets, and had average ISS higher than those non-intoxicated. Head, chest and orthopedic extremity trauma accounted for >70% of injuries seen within the entire population. Incidence peaked in June/July, and 55% of the collisions occurred between the hours of 1800 and 2200.

CONCLUSION: DMC are a significant public health issue in mid-western states. Education about helmet and alcohol use and safety on rural roads may be the best prevention. Continued research focusing on prevention is necessary.

From the Department of General Surgery, Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, Wisconsin.

Submitted for publication, September 16, 2004.

Accepted for publication, May 10, 2005

Current address (P.T.G.): Cardiothoracic Surgery, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

Address for reprints: R. Scott Nelson, DO, Department of General Surgery, Marshfield Clinic, 1000 North Oak Avenue, Marshfield, WI 54449; email:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.