Play Safe When It
Comes to Winter Sports
all kinds of outdoor fun, including skating,
skiing, tobogganing, and snow boarding. But
don't forget to play safe, says the American
Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
In 2004, there were about 500,000 winter
sports-related injuries treated at U.S. hospital
emergency departments, doctors' offices, and
clinics, according to the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The AAOS offers some safety reminders for winter
- Wear all appropriate protective gear, such
as goggles, helmets, gloves and padding. For
warmth and protection from the weather, wear
several layers of light, loose and water-
and wind-resistant clothing. Layering allows
you to adapt your clothing to your body's
constantly changing temperature.
- Warm up your muscles for 10 minutes with
light exercise. Drink plenty of water to avoid
- Know and obey all rules of the winter sports
that you take part in and make sure your equipment
is in good shape and that you know how to
use it properly.
- If you're a beginner skier or snowboarder,
take lessons from a qualified instructor.
Learn how to fall correctly to reduce your
risk of injury.
- Seek shelter and medical attention immediately
if you, or anyone in your group, experiences
hypothermia or frostbite.
There are other day-to-day winter hazards you
need to be aware of, the AAOS says:
- Ice can cause serious falls. Wear proper
footwear and keep your eyes on the terrain
ahead as you walk. If you do feel yourself
falling, try to fall on your side or buttocks.
Roll over naturally, turning your head in
the direction of the roll.
- Drive cautiously. Allow plenty of time to
brake as you approach stop signs and red lights.
Reduce your speed in hazardous conditions.
- Clear snow early and often to avoid having
to shovel large amounts of packed, heavy snow.
Don't throw the snow over your shoulder or
to the side, which requires a twisting motion
that places stress on your back.
- Before you shovel, warm up your muscles
for 10 minutes with light exercise. While
shoveling, take frequent breaks and drink
plenty of water.
- If you have a heart or vascular condition,
talk with your doctor about clearing snow,
regardless of whether you use a shovel or
a snow blower.
- Never stick your hands in a snow blower
if it jams.
- More articles on Winter