accidents while playing winter sports and activities

How to Avoid Accidents While Playing Winter Sports and Activities

Jeremy I. Simon, MD February 8th, 2017

Winter sports are responsible for thousands of injuries annually; these injury prevention tips will help you stay safe when sledding and ice skating.

Safety in sports activities and athletics are critical every season of the year. Spring brings the promise of baseball games (and baseball injuries), summer is the time for swimming (as well as swimming accidents), and fall is football season (which means football injuries). And during each of these seasons, the experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute compile lists of pertinent and helpful sport safety tips and sports safety facts, as well as sports injury prevention articles.

Winter is no exception to the problem of sports injuries; in fact, winter is arguably the most dangerous season for athletics, due to the combined factors of winter weather and the intense nature of winter sports. The doctors and specialists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute treat a wide number of patients who have experienced accidents while playing winter sports and activities, and we want to do everything we can to reduce the number of injuries that occur.

Every winter season sees a major influx of patients; we encourage you to do your part to keep our offices empty by reading this special winter injury prevention article dealing with accidents while playing winter sports and activities. Take a few minutes to read - and then get out in the snow and start safely enjoying another amazing winter season!

Ways to Prevent Injuries: Ice Skating & Sledding

To discuss ways to prevent accidents while playing winter sports and activities, we’ve split this article into two sections dealing with two common sources of injury in the wintertime: ice skating and sledding. While many people immediately think of skiing and snowboarding when considering dangerous winter sports, these two activities are responsible for thousands of injuries annually.

Ice Skating Injuries

Ice skating is such an elegant, universally enjoyed sport that few people consider the dangers that this winter activity presents. Slips on the ice, cuts, and concussions are all common to both figure skating and ice hockey and can be prevented by wearing protective gear and taking common sense safety precautions, such as taking care when turning and not skating at speeds where you cannot maintain control.

Ankle sprains, fractures, dislocation of the patella or shoulder, ACL tears, meniscal tears, and lateral tears of the hip are all common to figure skating. Similar to any winter activity, shoulder and wrist injuries are also common. Ways to prevent sports injuries like these which are caused by intensive stress and high-impact activity include warming up (5-10 minutes) to loosen muscles and tendons, utilizing stretches and exercises before skating, and wearing properly fitted skating boots and sufficiently sharpened skate blades.

Sledding Injuries

Sledding is actually responsible for an enormous number of accidents while playing winter sports and activities every year. In fact, in 2014 alone there were over 52,000 sledding, snow tubing, and tobogganing injuries in the United States. And the majority of the victims of these injuries are below 14 years of age. Common injuries include head injuries (especially concussions), lacerations, broken bones, and neck injuries.

Here are some basic ways to prevent sports injuries caused by sledding:

  • Wear a helmet, to prevent head injuries.

  • Do not sled on public streets or in any areas with vehicle traffic.

  • Do not sled in areas with dangerous obstacles, such as rocks or trees.

  • Sit in a forward-facing, upright position (rather than a “belly-flop” head-first horizontal position)

  • Do not sled on plastic sheets or objects that cannot be steered.

  • Wear protective layers of clothing.

  • Never sled without adult supervision.

Both sledding and ice-skating present serious threats to safety and health, which is why it is so critical to follow the given advice and prevent accidents while playing winter sports and activities such as these. If an injury does occur, the experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can offer you the best, most reliable care available to ensure that you have a quick, full recovery and can get back to enjoying your winter. To schedule an appointment at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute or to speak with a specialist, visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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