While it is simply not possible to prevent all injuries, according to Theodore Ganley, MD, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, there are simple Winter Sport Safety Tips that athletes may take to reduce their risk of injury, such as:
Winter athletes must be mindful of frostbite when exposed to freezing temperatures. However, sweating beneath heavy outerwear makes clothing damp, lowering the body’s temperature. It is best to choose something breathable to wear, then add an insulation layer, and top with a weatherproof exterior.
Always have water available to stay hydrated, not just sports drinks, or warm beverages like coffee or hot chocolate. While the cold of winter may not leave athletes as thirsty as the heat of the summer, it is still important to remain hydrated before, during, and after participating in a winter sport.
Always stretch and perform a light exercise before participating in a winter sport.
Remain fit year-round.
Some athletes may only participate in winter sports and may not choose to participate in other sports during the rest of the year. However, remaining physically fit year round is important; when the body is in good shape, the risk of injury is reduced.
Use protective gear.
Use proper protective gear as appropriate for the sport, such as goggles, a helmet, boots, etc.
Use proper equipment.
Use proper equipment designed for the planned winter sport and test it prior to using it.
Be mindful of skill level.
Athletes should always use courses designed for their current level of skill. Plan to work up to more advanced courses and activities once the basics are mastered.
Stop when appropriate.
When feeling tired make the decision to stop; accidents are more likely to occur when athletes are tired.
Winter time brings an opportunity to participate in sports that cannot be played year-round, such as skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. While many who are passionate about winter sports are eager to take advantage of the required weather, there are risks involved with most winter sports. By following these precautions, winter athletes may reduce their risk of injury.