Ask Dr. Nandi: Common hazards to be aware of when playing winter sports

Posted: 7:32 PM, Jan 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-15 08:16:28-05
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(WXYZ) — Winter is in full swing and so are recreational activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and hockey. But alongside these fun winter activities comes the risk of injuries.

Question: What are some common hazards people should be aware of?

I love winter activities as they can motivate folks and families to get off the couch and out of their house. Now many of you know how important daily movement is. And winter sports are an excellent way to take part in some fun physical activity. But there are some risks you should be aware of. Besides bumps and bruises, common injuries seen at emergency rooms include sprains, concussions, dislocations and fractures.

Question: Just how prevalent are these types of injuries?

When you look at 2017 data gathered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries are broken down by sport. And here are the numbers:

· Almost 69,000 people were treated for skiing-related injuries

· Just over 54,000 people were treated for snowboard-related injuries,

· Over 52,000 people were treated for ice skating-related injuries, and

· Almost 4,500 people were treated for toboggan-related injuries

Question: What can people do to avoid getting injured?

I can tell you it’s absolutely possible to have fun with winter activities and still stay safe. But there are some precautions so here are my prescriptions:

1. If you start to feel tired or exhausted, slow down or stop what you’re doing. Because your risk of injuries spike once fatigue sets in.

2. Always wear protective gear that’s designed for your sport. Very important. That means you don’t wear a bicycle helmet if you go skiing. Also be sure all equipment is not only in good condition but also fits well. Or it won’t be as effective.

3. Take lessons to learn proper technique and safety rules. So many injuries happen when kids and adults lose control, are moving too fast or try something that’s beyond their ability.

4. Lastly, drink plenty of water, dress appropriately for the temperature, and watch for frostbite and hypothermia. Also buddy up. Please don’t go alone or let a child go alone. As the saying goes, there is safety in numbers. And I definitely want you all to have fun while staying safe.