Seasonal safety: Winter

Extreme winter sports can lead to extreme injuries

Rosemont, IL – Although extreme winter sports can give participants a serious adrenaline rush, they also can lead to serious injuries, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons warned recently. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 139,881 people sought medical treatment for snowboarding injuries in 2009 and a near equal number sought treatment for skiing injuries.

AAOS issued these tips for staying injury-free while participating in extreme sports such as downhill ski racing and jumping, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow biking, and ice climbing:

  • Before beginning, do light exercise for three to five minutes and then slowly stretch muscles.
  • Do not imitate stunts seen on television. If you have children watching these events, make sure they understand the dangers associated with mimicking these professionals.
  • Never participate in extreme sports alone. Have a partner to assist you and a communication device to call for help in case you are injured.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear such as goggles, helmets, gloves and padding.
  • Wear several layers of light, loose, water- and wind-resistant clothing.
  • Take frequent breaks to avoid dehydration and overheating. Avoid alcohol because it can increase your chances of hypothermia.
  • Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms or severe drops in temperature.

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