Winter sports are a great way to get out and enjoy the cold and snow. But these sports can be dangerous. Here is some information to help you stay safe.
The most common winter sport injuries are sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures and head injuries. Most happen at the end of the day as people become tired. The CDC reports that snowboarding accounts for a quarter of all winter sports accidents. There are about 52,000 sledding accidents every year and 30% of those are head injuries.
To help prevent injury during your favorite winter activities, follow the safety tips below:
- Keep in shape and condition muscles before participating in winter activities.
- Warm up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding.
- Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.
- Wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.
- 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. Learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury.
- Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature.
- Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure everyone is aware of proper procedures for getting help if injuries occur.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.
- Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or exhausted.
- Never participate alone in a winter sport.
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