Over the course of my lifetime, NPR has given me so many gifts, from teaching me that Bangladesh is not Ukraine, to informing me that a published scientific study called “Avocado-related knife injuries: Describing an epidemic of hand injury” exists. And what better day to inform the American public of this epidemic than Super Bowl Sunday!
The study, published last year in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, analyzed data gathered by the federal government’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1998 to 2017. The findings: 50,413 people have hurt themselves so badly cutting up avocados that they needed to go to the emergency room. That averages out to about 2,650 people every year, and remember, these are only the injuries that we know about. Who knows how many people out there just duct-taped their fingers back on because they were too embarrassed to visit the ER?
Those most likely to cut themselves while preparing avocados: women aged 23 to 39. As a member of this demographic, I would like to remind my fellow ladies to always use a very sharp, heavy knife, which will easily lodge itself into the pit with barely a tap. If you’re clumsy, cover the hand holding the avocado with a heavy kitchen towel. Or just leave the avocado on your cutting board and prop it up with a fork. Seriously, this isn’t so hard that you need a specialized tool for the job.
The good news for those of you who love avocados but now fear for the safety of your non-dominant hand: Avocado-related injuries account for only 2% of knife accidents. The bad news is that we have no idea how those other 98% of accidents occurred, so good luck figuring that out on your own.