Freezing weather and icy conditions have most people staying indoors for the winter months. But for winter sports enthusiasts, the fun is just getting started. A fresh blanket of snow creates the perfect landscape for a day of skiing, sledding and snowboarding. Unfortunately, it also sets the stage for injuries.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 246,000 people received medical treatment for winter sports injuries last year alone. This included:
- 88,000 skiing injuries
- 61,000 snowboarding injuries
- 50,000 ice skating injuries
- 47,000 sledding, tobogganing, or snow tubing injuries
No sport is without risk, but you can help protect yourself against common injuries by recognizing potential hazards and taking steps to prevent them. Here are some of the most common injuries that occur in winter sports:
- Concussions from falling or running into rocks or trees
- Rotator cuff injuries or shoulder dislocation from skiing accidents
- Collision injuries during ice hockey, ice skating or skiing
- Torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) when twisting or falling on skis
- Sprains or pulled muscles from ice skating accidents
- Spinal injuries from sledding, skiing or snowmobile accidents
To protect yourself from these injuries, remember to follow these safety guidelines:
- Always have a partner. Never participate in winter sports alone.
- Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes prior to vigorous activity.
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including a helmet, goggles and gloves.
- Dress in multiple layers to keep muscles warm and prevent injury.
- Drink water before, during and after activity to stay thoroughly hydrated.
- Take a rest when you feel tired. Fatigued muscles do not respond as quickly and may result in injury.
Winter sports can be the highlight of the season as long as they are performed safely. Take steps to ensure your outdoor activities remain injury-free and remember to discuss safety rules with your children. A little prevention could spare you a trip to the emergency room and weeks of recovery (Source: OrthoInfo).