For Immediate Release
Avoid Getting Sidelined This Winter
Orthopaedic surgeon provides tips to prevent winter sports injuries
Bloomfield Hills, MI ⎯ At the sight of the first snowfall, kids and adults alike are eager to enjoy the variety of winter sports available. Hours of recreation are spent on activities ranging from sledding, snow skiing and tobogganing to ice hockey, ice skating and snow boarding. But according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, if the proper precautions are not taken to ensure warmth and safety, severe injuries can occur.
Winter sports injuries get a lot of attention at hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and clinics. According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 310,000 people were treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms in 2012 for winter sports-related injuries. Specifically:
• more than 40,000 injuries were caused by sledding;
• 97,713 by snowboarding;
• 119,715, snow skiing; and,
• nearly 53,000 by ice skating.
“Countless numbers of winter sports injuries happen at the end of the day, when people overexert themselves to finish that one last run before the day’s end,” explained Dr. James Bicos, Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeon with William Beaumont Hospital. “A majority of these injuries can easily be prevented if participants prepare for their sport by keeping in good physical condition, staying alert and stopping when they are tired or in pain.”
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons urges children and adults to follow the tips below for preventing winter sports injuries:
Numerous sledding injuries are caused by collisions at the end of sledding paths and/or sledding in improper positions. Click here to read a detailed list of safety tips to help reduce these injuries.
Snowboarding and Skiing
Many snowboarding and skiing injuries can be avoided by utilizing appropriate equipment, ensuring a safe environment and following all rules of these sports. Click here to read a full list of snowboarding and skiing safety tips.
General winter sports safety tips:
• Consider participating with a partner. If possible, skiers and snowboarders should stay with a partner and within sight of each other. Also, make sure someone who is not participating is aware of your plans and probable whereabouts before heading outdoors.
• Check the weather for snow and ice conditions prior to heading outdoors. Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature. Make adjustments for icy conditions, deep snow powder, wet snow, and adverse weather conditions.
• Dress for the occasion. Wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Also wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding and check that all equipment, such as ski and snowboard bindings, is kept in good working order.
• Warm up thoroughly before playing and exercising. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. It’s important to warm up by taking it easy on the first few runs.
• Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating. Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding.
• Always carry a cell phone in case of an emergency.
Click here to read more safety tips.
Winter sports safety
Dr. James Bicos