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WINTER SPORTS SAFETY

As everyone goes out to enjoy the winter playground that our area provides, safety should be the main concern. Taking certain precautions can help ensure your safety on the slopes, ponds, and snowy trails. The most common injuries include sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures. The following are a are a few tips to keep in mind before enjoying your favorite winter activity.

Sledding Safety Tips:

  • sledding should be done only in designated and approved areas

  • parents or adults should supervise children in sledding areas

  • sledding should never be done head first, participants should sit in a forward-facing position, steering with feet or rope tied to the steering handles of sled

  • young children should wear fitted helmets

  • the sled should have runners and a steering mechanism, which is safer than toboggans or snow discs

  • do not sled on plastic sheets, they cannot be steered and can be pierced by sharp objects

  • wear layers of clothing for protection from injuries and cold

  • evening sledding should be done in a in well-lit area

Skiing Safety Tips:

  • warm up with jumping jacks or by walking in place-research shows cold muscles are more prone to injury

  • wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles & helmet

  • helmets are sport-specific, do not wear a bike helmet on the slope (ski helmets should be worn)

  • buy or rent boots and bindings that have been set, adjusted, maintained and tested by a ski shop

  • make sure bindings have been adjusted to your height and weight

  • pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature

  • stay on marked trails- watch out for rocks and patches of ice on the ski trails

Ice Skating Safety Tips:

  • beginners should take the time to learn to skate

  • protect yourself with knee and elbow pads

  • only ice skate in areas you know are safe

  • learn how to fall, do not over correct

  • avoid skating after unseasonably mild weather

Snowshoeing Safety Tips:

  • chart your course especially when going off the beaten path

  • drink plenty of fluids, breathing cold air can be dehydrating

  • dress appropriately, damp clothes due to sweating can lower body temperature

  • be prepared if planning an off–trail adventure, fill a pack with water, high nutrient snacks, small first aid kit, pocket knife, headlamp, compass, extra clothing and map

  • tell someone when and where you are going

Physical therapists see a wide range of injuries that occur with these winter activities. Knee injuries are very common; in a split second a simple twist of the knee could cause a tear or strain to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). The shoulder is prone to dislocations and sprains due to falls. Fractures of the arms and legs are also common. Head injuries due to not wearing proper headgear also occur, and can be especially serious. If you or a loved one has experienced a winter sports injury, contact your physician or a physical therapist for an evaluation.






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