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December 20, 2013

Ski, Sled, Skate and Snowboard this Season with Safety Tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Rosemont, Ill. -While skiing, snowboarding, sledding and skating are good for the body and mind, as with any physical activity, winter sports require some planning and caution to avoid injury.
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.
“Common winter sport injuries from skiing and snowboarding include sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures,” said A. Herbert Alexander, MD, a Ketchum, Idaho orthopaedic surgeon and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) spokesperson. “Often, these injuries occur at the end of the day, as people try to get in one more ski, sled or snowboard run, despite fatigue or discomfort. Fortunately, most winter sport injuries can be prevented if participants stay in good physical condition, gradually increase their level of difficulty, stay alert, and stop when they are tired or feel pain. Don't forget to wear helmets while skiing, snowboarding, or sledding.  Remember to stay well-hydrated and remember to use sun screen.”

Orthopaedic surgeons, the medical doctors who put bones and limbs back together after trauma, offer the following winter sports safety tips:

Numerous sledding injuries are caused by collisions at the end of sledding paths and/or sledding in improper positions. Click hereto 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 hereto 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 hereto read more safety tips.


Orthopaedic surgeonsrestore mobility and reduce pain; they help people get back to work and to independent, productive lives. Visit ANationInMotion.orgto read successful orthopaedic stories. is your source for bone and joint health news, stats, facts, images and spokesperson interview requests. 

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About the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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