Aspen, CO - January 29, 2016 - Buttermilk Mountain: Spencer O’Brien competes in Women’s Snowboard SlopeStyle Final during X Games Aspen 2016. (Eddie Perlas/ESPN Images)

More than cuts and bruises: Winter sport-related injuries on the rise

BC Trauma Registry reminds skiers, snowboarders to wear helmets, check the weather and be aware

The BC Trauma Registry is reminding those hitting the slopes this season to take extra safety measures amid new data showing an uptick in winter sports-related injuries.

During the 2015/16 winter season, there were 339 hospitalizations for skiing-related injuries, according to the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). Of those, 187 were serious.

That’s an increase of 27 per cent in the 2015-16 season, compared to the year prior, data shows.

Meanwhile, snowboarding-related hospitalizations rose by about 9 per cent with 184 total hospitalizations.

Although the new stats don’t track specific injuries, Dr. Shelina Babul told Black Press Media that generally it’s concussions, as well as sprains, strains and tears to knees, wrists and ankles that cause people to head to emergency rooms.

Babul, trauma registry associate director and sports injury specialist, said there is also the possibility that more people are better informed on when they should seek medical attention for an injury compared to years past.

“The shift in numbers doesn’t necessarily indicate that more people are being hurt,” she said. “Policy changes and awareness and education campaigns are making a difference, which can affect the number of people who decide to see doctors for their injuries.”

Policy changes, such as body checking being banned from younger levels of amateur hockey has led to some relief in the rates of injury, the data suggests.

In the 2015-16 hockey season, hospitalizations were down by 27 per cent, PHSA said.

“Additionally, increased access to resources about injuries could help explain why there are fewer injuries related to ice hockey,” Babul said, like the online concussion awareness website cattonline.com which offers training and educational guides.

But when it comes to preventing injuries, Babul has no doubts that there’s still work that can be done.

While doctors are seeing more people wearing helmets on the mountains than 10 to 15 years ago, Babul said, a portion of people still aren’t doing enough to protect their head from possible injury.

Awareness and education campaigns around wearing helmets – and the need to wear it correctly – could help with minimizing the severity of a concussion, Babul added.

Experts suggest that the fit of the helmet is key to ensure protection. Chin straps should be tight enough that one finger can fit between your chin and strap, that straps should fit properly in a “Y” shape over each ear and the helmet should sit two fingers’ with above your eyebrows.

In addition to equipment, people need to be actively looking ahead for potential risks, Babul said, through checking weather conditions and staying within the hill’s boundaries.

“To minimize injury in any winter sport or activity, people need to be mindful of their abilities, aware of their surroundings, and use the proper safety equipment.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Not too early to make fall plans

Celebrate the fall with the annual Naramata Bench Wineries Association Tailgate Party .

Walk to end abuse for those who can’t

SOWINS’s Debbie Scarborough points to the lethal potential in intimate partner abuse

Run for beer along Penticton’s Ale Trail

The second annual Penticton Beer Run takes place on June 2

Penticton trio perform classical music recital

Penticton locals Mia Harris, Christine Robinson and Dennis Nordlund perform on May 26

TGIF: Penticton and South Okanagan events listings

Live theatre, concerts, events, art exhibits and more from around the South Okanagan

Construction on 300 Block on target, nearly time to celebrate

Construction is expected on the 300 Block of Main Street in Penticton is expected to wrap June 15

Unusually nasty odour repulses Chase residents

Village staff trying to get bacteria working in lagoons at sewage treatment plant

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Athlete of the week: Declen Blondin

Declen Blondin is the Penticton Western News/Canadian Tire athlete of the week

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Most Read