Avoid Winter Sports Head Injuries
Put a helmet on top of your safety list.
Wintertime sports and activities provide a fun way to stay fit in the chilly outdoors.
But they can also lead to serious injuries, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Mild TBIs may involve a brief change in mental status or consciousness, while severe TBIs can lead to extended unconsciousness or amnesia.
Some traumatic brain injuries can lead to permanent disability or even death.
While there’s no individual technique or safety equipment guaranteed to prevent head injuries, here are a few safety tips:
- Wear a helmet – According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission study, helmet use by skiers and snowboarders could prevent or reduce the severity of 44 percent of head injuries to adults, and 53 percent of head injuries to children under the age of 15.
- Use the right gear properly – Select the proper equipment, and make sure bindings, boots and other gear are adjusted to fit correctly.
- Know your limits – Get the proper training, control your speed at all times, and don’t ski or snowboard beyond your ability.
- Use the buddy system – Never ski or snowboard alone. Make sure someone is there to help you if you get hurt.
- Know the hazards – Be familiar with the location of fences, trees, rocks and open water, and stay on marked trails appropriate for your skill level. Avoid potential avalanche areas.
Also, familiarize yourself with these suggestions from the Brain Trauma Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for evaluating and responding to immediate head injuries.
Enjoy the outdoors, and stay safe!