Avoid Getting Sidelined This Winter

For Immediate Release

Avoid Getting Sidelined This Winter
Orthopaedic surgeon provides tips to prevent winter sports injuries

Bloomfield Hills, MI ⎯ At the sight of the first snowfall, kids and adults alike are eager to enjoy the variety of winter sports available. Hours of recreation are spent on activities ranging from sledding, snow skiing and tobogganing to ice hockey, ice skating and snow boarding. But according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, if the proper precautions are not taken to ensure warmth and safety, severe injuries can occur.

Winter sports injuries get a lot of attention at hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices and clinics. According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 310,000 people were treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms in 2012 for winter sports-related injuries. Specifically:
• more than 40,000 injuries were caused by sledding;
• 97,713 by snowboarding;
• 119,715, snow skiing; and,
• nearly 53,000 by ice skating.

“Countless numbers of winter sports injuries happen at the end of the day, when people overexert themselves to finish that one last run before the day’s end,” explained Dr. James Bicos, Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeon with William Beaumont Hospital. “A majority of these injuries can easily be prevented if participants prepare for their sport by keeping in good physical condition, staying alert and stopping when they are tired or in pain.”

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons urges children and adults to follow the tips below for preventing winter sports injuries:

Numerous sledding injuries are caused by collisions at the end of sledding paths and/or sledding in improper positions. Click here to read a detailed list of safety tips to help reduce these injuries.

Snowboarding and Skiing
Many snowboarding and skiing injuries can be avoided by utilizing appropriate equipment, ensuring a safe environment and following all rules of these sports. Click here to read a full list of snowboarding and skiing safety tips.

General winter sports safety tips:
• Consider participating with a partner. If possible, skiers and snowboarders should stay with a partner and within sight of each other. Also, make sure someone who is not participating is aware of your plans and probable whereabouts before heading outdoors.
• Check the weather for snow and ice conditions prior to heading outdoors. Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature. Make adjustments for icy conditions, deep snow powder, wet snow, and adverse weather conditions.
• Dress for the occasion. Wear several layers of light, loose and water- and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Also wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding and check that all equipment, such as ski and snowboard bindings, is kept in good working order.
• Warm up thoroughly before playing and exercising. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. It’s important to warm up by taking it easy on the first few runs.
• Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating. Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding.
• Always carry a cell phone in case of an emergency.

Click here to read more safety tips.

More tips:
Winter sports safety

For more information, contact:
Dr. James Bicos
Performance Orthopedics

Ski Jumping Takes Its Toll at Sochi Olympic Winter Games

So far, the Olympic Games have been more about the sports than the injuries. I don’t mind that at all — that’s the way it should be.

Last night, though, we saw two injuries during training at Ski Jumping.

Russia's Mikhail Maksimochkin lies at the bottom of the large ski jump hill after crashing while landing on Wed night during a training session.  He suffered multiple rib fractures. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Russia’s Mikhail Maksimochkin lies at the bottom of the large ski jump hill after crashing while landing on Wed night during a training session. He suffered multiple rib fractures. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Russia’a Mikhail Maksimochkin crashed on the big ski jumping hill on Wed night during a training session. He suffered multiple rib fractures and was taken to the hospital. At the same training session, Poland’s Kamil Stoch, who took gold on the normal hill, also crashed during landing and suffered an “arm injury”. He left the hill with his arm in a sling.

There are two hills in ski jumping. The normal hill, which is 90m in height, and the big hill, which is 120m in height. The ski jumper “falls” nearly 40 stories from the starting position to the landing area in about 9 seconds. The typical take off speed is 55 mph and they land at about 45 mph, all while navigating the air with nothing but themselves, their skis, and their helmet.

Rib fractures are extremely painful because they move with each breath we take. So it is very difficult to get comfortable and breath normally, let alone compete in an Olympic sport such as ski jumping. Members of the national ski jumping federation visited Maksimochkin in the hospital to discuss his injuries and his competition plan. So far there is no word on what his return to competition will be. This is where these Olympic athletes throw caution to the wind for the opportunity to compete and win a gold that comes only once every four years!

Poland’s ski jumper Stoch does plan to compete further in the event.

The finals for the big hill ski jump are being held on Saturday night. Let’s all hope for the best.

Performance Orthopedics
Keeping you in the game…Whatever your game may be.

Snowboarder’s helmet probably saved her life at Sochi Olympics!
Still think that helmets don’t matter for skiing or snowboarding? Just ask Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova, who took a nasty fall during the inaugural women’s slope style snowboarding competition on Feb 9th, 2014.

Sarka Pancochova missed a landing during the competition and landed on her back. She tumbled to the bottom of the hill where she lay motionless for a couple of minutes. She was attended to by the medical staff who found that she cracked her helmet in half!

Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova cracked her helmet during the women's slope style competition on Feb 9th, 2014.

Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova cracked her helmet during the women’s slope style competition on Feb 9th, 2014.

She was able to board down the hill, but was visibly shaken up, as could be seen by the cameras. There were speculations as to an injury, but there is no doubt in my mind that she suffered a concussion.

Helmet use during skiing or snowboarding has luckily risen dramatically over the past 10 years. Seventy percent of all current skiers or snowboarders in the United States wear helmets now. Helmet use came to full light earlier this year when racing legend Michael Schumacher suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing at a resort in Meribel, France. He WAS wearing a helmet. In fact, the National Ski Areas Association have published data, that although helmet use is up, it has not correlated with a decrease rate of injuries.

Many reasons have been stated as to why the injuries keep on rising despite the increased helmet use. The main one is that skiers and snowboarders are doing more difficult maneuvers than ever before that increases the overall risk of the sport dramatically, despite the use of helmets. In addition, the increase in back country skiing or boarding has also increased the risk of the sport. As for Michael Schumacher, even though he suffered a traumatic brain injury while wearing a helmet, he would have died if not wearing one.

In my opinion, Sarka Pancochova’s helmet also saved her life in Sochi!

The take home point? Wear your helmet while skiing or snowboarding! Helmets can prevent injuries. They keep your head nice and warm while you are outside and even come with built in wireless speakers so you can carve up the course in style!!

Stay safe and be smart…
Performance Orthopedics — Keeping You In The Game, Whatever Your Game May Be!!