Study: distraction hard to swallow
THE art of sword swallowing carries many predictable risks, but the dangers are magnified if animals or other distractions encroach on the act, an unusual study in the BritishMedicalJournal says.
Sword swallowers are defined as individuals who can swallow a non-retractable solid steel blade at least two centimetres wide and 38 centimetres long.
In an attempt to explore the risks of this unusual activity, the paper asked 46 sword swallowers about their medical history.
Nineteen had experienced pharyngeal pain — ‘‘sword throat’’ — whilst learning.
Many had suffered lower chest pain, and six had suffered perforation of the pharynx and oesophagus. One other was told a sword had ‘brushed’ the heart.
Most injuries occurred when swallowers used multiple or unusual swords.
One swallower lacerated his pharynx when trying to swallow a curved sabre whilst another suffered lacerations after being distracted by a ‘misbehaving’ macaw that was on his shoulder.
OWW . . . ‘sword throat’ occupational hazard