While cold temperatures and snowstorms may push people from the lower 48 indoors, Alaskans gravitate to the mountains to enjoy their favorite winter activities and sports.
But winter sports carry high risks due to inconsistent weather conditions and poor visibility. It's critical to invest in safety equipment and recognize the dangers before hitting the slopes this season.
Three winter sports that cause injuries
Winter sports are thrilling yet challenging for most athletes. There are hazards hidden in every snow pile that may cause severe injuries. The most dangerous of these winter activities are:
- Skiing and snowboarding - it's particularly easy to injure yourself while speeding down a hill. If you fall, there is a risk of damaging your knees, arms, shoulders or even your head.
- Sledding - almost everyone enjoys sledding, from young kids to fully-grown adults. However, sledding often results in concussions or limb injuries from running into trees or rocks.
- Hockey - hockey is often seen as our pride and joy. However, it is an aggressive sport for athletes - mainly due to the icy surface. Many hockey players get cuts, bruises, pulled muscles and even broken teeth in some situations.
How to prevent winter-related injuries
While these sports offer a few risks, it doesn't mean you have to avoid them. You can enjoy those sports without injuries with a few precautions. A few tips are:
- Wear appropriate gear, including breathable layers, goggles, helmets, etc.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration is crucial, even in the blistering cold.
- Check your equipment. It will help prevent any malfunctions on the hill or in the rink.
- Use the right form. When you sled or ski, there is a proper form to use to avoid serious injuries and keep you upright.
- Do not push yourself. Everyone strives to better, but forcing yourself too much may result in muscle fatigue and severe pain.
A few simple steps could save you from a severe spinal or head injury during the wintertime. If you follow these tips and still get injured, seek medical attention right away and consult with a professional about treatment.