Spring break is a vacation period in early spring to be enjoyed by college students in every state of America. Although many jet-set abroad, most stay in the U.S. to celebrate with their friends, drink alcohol, and party.

This Spring Break is no exception, and to promote the importance of staying safe whilst still having fun, we have revealed a list of the top injuries sustained by drunk Americans, according to data from national Emergency Room (ER) records.

We analyzed recent data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS)*, relating to injuries sustained during the Spring Break period, which involved the patient being intoxicated. There were more than 40,000 ER entries recorded from 1st March- 31st April, during the years 2016-2020, which we were able to categorize along with the average medical bill of each injury**:

The most common injuries sustained by drunk Americans during Spring Break are:

  1. Lacerations – 33% ($3,119)

One-quarter of all lacerations (25%) involved a “bottle” of alcohol, predominantly causing foot lacerations from standing on broken glass.

  1. Internal organ injuries – 16% ($9,297)

The vast majority (89%) of all internal injuries were in reference to the head, some incidents included; falling off a bar stool, failing to jump a fence, and crashing a bicycle.

  1. Contusions, abrasions – 11% ($4,892)

A third of contusions and abrasions (30%) were facial injuries due to patients drunkenly falling facefirst onto objects including the floor, a table, and a glass door.

  1. Fractures – 9% ($13 856)

Over two-fifths of fractures recorded (43%) occurred on the arm, including elbow, wrist, and hand. Activities leading to these injuries included; dancing, rollerskating, and skateboarding. 

  1. Poisoning – 7% ($9,723)

One-third (29%) of poisoning incidents were sustained from substance abuse that resulted in nausea and vomiting.

  1. Concussion – 3% ($7,832)

The act of ‘falling over’ whilst intoxicated was the cause of 91% of all concussions recorded.

  1. Strain or sprain – 3% ($4,878)

Over half of those injured were female (56%), of which the most common injury was a sprained ankle.

  1. Pain (general) – 2% ($4,305)

This refers to aches and pains, such as chest pains and headaches, that have subsequently occurred from substance abuse.

The Most Frequent Injuries Landing Young Adults in E.R During Spring Break 1

The list was determined by how frequently each injury appeared in the NEISS database, which also  revealed:

  • 69% of all injuries recorded were sustained by males, as opposed to 31% of females 
  • The most hazardous object responsible for 16% of injuries was stairs.
  • More than two-fifths (43%) of all injuries noted how the patient ‘fell’, with examples including; drunk roller skating, falling through a glass window, riding a bike whilst intoxicated, and using a machete to cut down a tree whilst under the influence of alcohol.

We also want to highlight that although choosing to drink in excess is a personal choice, some injuries that occur whilst under the influence of alcohol can still qualify for compensation claims. If there is substantial evidence that the person harmed was not at fault, legal advice would be recommended.

Andy Gillin, the managing partner of GJEL, said,

“With Spring Break approaching, our personal injury lawyers wanted to raise awareness about the potential dangers surrounding the vacation period. Our research shows that binge drinking can result in many serious accidents that could have otherwise been avoided.

“Based on our findings, we simply advise the public to be mindful of their surroundings, drink responsibly, and do not adhere to peer pressure. We hope this will prevent unnecessary trips to the ER, as nobody wants to spend their Spring Break in a hospital!”





Author Photo

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Since 1972 he has been helping seriously injured victims throughout northern California fight & win their personal injury cases. Andy is one of the top awarded & recognized wrongful death lawyers in northern California.