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Play It Safe With Snowboarding


There are few winter activities as thrilling and stylish as slicing down the slopes on a snowboard.

However, because of its speed and tricks, snowboarding is also one of the most dangerous winter sports.

An estimated 2.5 million people snowboard at least once a year, about one-quarter the number of alpine skiers, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.

Yet, snowboarders are twice as likely as skiers to injure themselves, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. In 1999, more than 140,000 snowboarders had medically treated injuries, costing $2.85 billion.

Because snowboarders are injured in an array of age groups, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has prepared a safety tip sheet about the sport. Snowboarders should take a lesson, and make sure they are physically fit before beginning a day on the slopes. Riders should also take care before trying to jump, since that maneuver is the greatest cause of spinal injuries for snowboarders.

Another important safety concern is equipment. Each time you use a snowboard, you should inspect it to make sure it's in good condition. When getting a new board, riders should have it adjusted and fitted in a ski shop. Snowboarders should dress in layers, wearing wind- and water-resistant clothing on the outside and a comfortable fabric that dries quickly on the inside. They should also wear eye protection and sunscreen, the CDC advises.

Perhaps most importantly, when snowboarders are on the slopes, they should stay in control. They should warm up on easy runs at the beginning of the day, stay on marked trails, avoid risky tricks and be willing to walk down a run if it gets too difficult. Because many injuries are caused by fatigue, snowboarders should take frequent breaks, the CDC says.

More information

Here are some tips on snowboarding safety.


Reference Source 101

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