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Ever Wonder if Sword Swallowers Get Injured?

Despite the obvious hazards sword swallowers face, there are only two case reports of injury from the activity in all the English medical literature. The British Medical Journal conducted a study to find out whether more side effects to sword swallowing exist, and found that out of 46 Sword Swallowers’ Association International members (to belong to SSAI you must be able to swallow a non-retractable steel blade that’s at least two centimeters wide and 38 centimeters long):

  • 19 had experienced sore throats while learning the technique
  • Many had suffered lower chest pain following some performances
  • 6 has suffered perforation of the pharynx and esophagus
  • 1 was told the sword had “brushed” the heart

Though quite dangerous even under the best circumstances, sword swallowers would be wise to avoid distractions and unusually shaped swords. The injuries noted above were more likely to occur when the swallowers were distracted or when they used multiple or unusual swords.

Science Daily December 22, 2006