Dr. Roger Hicks
Nothing says summer in Nevada County quite like a day at the river. As the founding president of SYRCL and a board member for more than 30 years, the Yuba is dear to my heart. It’s the best place I know of to recharge one’s spirit and cool off on a hot day.
But a river can also be dangerous. While it may appear calm, the current under the surface can be quite strong, especially early in the season. Every year there are drownings or near-drownings in the Yuba. Some are related to alcohol: people with judgement or coordination impaired by alcohol jump or fall in. Others occur when people are so anxious to get back in the river after a long winter they are simply caught unaware by the fast-moving river and swept away.
If you see someone in distress and can help without endangering your own life, get that person out of the water as quickly as possible and call for assistance. If the victim is unresponsive, open the airway and give two rescue breaths by mouth to mouth that make the chest rise. If the person remains unresponsive, begin CPR. (Do you know CPR?)
Each year, winter water moves rocks and changes the depth of pools. Be sure you know how deep the water is at your favorite spot this year before jumping in. Diving into the Yuba is dangerous due to hitting your head on the bottom and ending up unconscious or with a broken neck.
A common river injury is, unfortunately, cut feet from broken glass. Please do not take glass to the river. If you see any glass left behind and can safely remove it, please do. You could be saving someone a trip to urgent care for stitches.
Whether you drive to a picnic spot near Bridgeport or hike the back trails along Edwards Crossing, there are a few other things to keep in mind to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time. First, be sure to stay hydrated. Our bodies are about 60 percent water, and water is key to optimal functioning and peak performance. The first symptoms of dehydration can be vague – a headache or feeling tired,
lightheaded, or cranky – rather than the classic dry mouth and thirst. But if you experience any of these symptoms while playing outside, take a few minutes and have some water, an electrolyte drink or some other beverage.
Wear sturdy shoes. Slippery rocks and unstable ground can mean sprains, pulled or strained muscles or broken bones. Consider taking a walking stick for stability, slow down when the terrain is uneven, and watch out for exposed roots and jutting rocks.
Take along plenty of snacks. Protein bars, trail mix and fresh fruit can replenish energy after exerting yourself in the outdoors. Just remember the Golden Rule of the river – if you pack it in, please pack it out!
A director of the Urgent Care Association of America from 2011 to 2017, Dr. Roger Hicks served as the Association’s treasurer and then secretary. He is a founder and current board member of the Urgent Care Assurance Company, a malpractice company specializing in urgent care. He is the founding President of the California Urgent Care Association. He is also the founding president of the South Yuba River Citizens League and served on SYRCL’s Board of Directors for 30 years
About the Photo: Dr. Marya Hicks, Dr Roger Hicks, Jesse Hicks and Linda Rachmel have some fun in the sun on the Yuba River in Nevada County