According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2011, nearly 300,000 people were treated for winter sports-related injuries. These included more than 58,000 injuries caused by sledding, nearly 109,000 snowboarding injuries and more than 124,000 skiing injuries.
For those Floridians who enjoy vacationing to participate in skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports, our Fort Lauderdale orthopaedic surgeons stress preparation and safety to decrease the risk of serious injury. In conjunction with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Prevent Injuries America! Campaign, we offer these tips.
- Keep in shape and condition muscles before partaking in winter activities. If over the age of 50, it may be wise to have a medical check-up prior to participating in a winter sport.
- Always wear a helmet to protect against serious – and even fatal – head and neck injuries. Research has proven that helmets reduce the risk of a serious head injury by as much as 60%.
- Warm up thoroughly before playing. 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 lessons from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding.
- Hydrate before, during and after outdoor activities. Even mild levels of dehydration can affect physical ability and endurance.
- Never go alone. Skiers should ski with partners and stay within sight of each other. If one partner loses the other, stop and wait.
- Sled properly. No one should sled headfirst. All participants should sit in a forward-facing position, steering with their feet or a rope tied to the steering handles of the sled runs.
- Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or exhausted. If tired, call it a day.
For more advice on protecting yourself from common winter sports-related injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, dislocations and fractures, please contact Fort Lauderdale Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at (954) 400-5544.