Winter Sports Safety

With winter at its peak and the chance to enjoy a few more weeks of the winter sports activities it has to offer, it could be time to ask, what are your favorite winter sports to engage in? It may be sledding, skiing, ice skating, or perhaps even hockey. Although these sports present us with excitement and the ability to try new activities, it is important that we remain aware of the need for safety while doing so.

Every year nearly 200,000 people receive treatment as a result of injuries due to winter sports. There are numerous injuries that can occur from engaging in winter sports. These can include concussions, strains, fractures, dislocations, and other injuries. Each sport varies in its likelihood of a certain injury occurring, for example, skiers tend to experience knee injuries as a result of a damaged ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). Other sports such as sledding tend to result in head injuries and broken bones. Although it may not be realistic to entirely eliminate the chance of injury, there are a few ways you can limit the probability and enjoy fun, new, and safe winter sports!

One relieving aspect of this is that there are cautionary steps you can take to lower the chances of injury. Let’s take a look at ways you can prevent winter sport related injuries and continue engaging in the hobbies you love.

Slow to Start: Prior to engaging in strenuous sports such as snowboarding or skiing, try warming up. Allow for your muscles, ligaments, and tendons to loosen up through light stretching before taking part in the activity.

Staying in Shape: Ensuring that you do your best to keep your muscles and body in shape can allow for you to jump into winter sports much quicker. Focusing on increasing core strength, upper and lower body strength, and balance can lower risk of injury. When our bodies are in shape and can provide us with a stable base, we are at our best and less injury prone.

Following the Rules: With each winter sport comes different rules to stay safe, and it is important to research the activity you are engaging in prior to. If there are signs when you are skiing or snowboarding, be sure to pay attention to what they say.

Safe to Use Equipment: In any winter sport you are destined to need some sort of equipment, and before doing so, test the equipment to make sure it is safe to use. For example, with sledding, make sure that the sled has no visible safety hazards, and that you have the ability to stop yourself when using.

Falling Correctly: Falling directly onto your elbows, shoulders, and wrists can cause serious injuries. Learning from an informational video or instructor on how to fall correctly can limit the severity of fall related injuries.

Taking into account these tips and tricks to prevent winter related sports injuries will not entirely limit the potential for injury, but it will lower the risk. Even if precautions are taken, injuries may occur, and it is important to receive treatment from a doctor as soon as it happens. Following injuries, you may need rehabilitation, and you can eventually return to those winter sports we all love.

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