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Winter sports injuries: skiing, snowboarding...surfing?

Every winter, adults across the U.S. engage in sports and physical activities, that, while meant to be fun and enjoyable, end up causing serious personal injuries. While skiing and snowboarding are the sports most often associated with winter sports injuries, a serious accident doesn't have to occur on the snow.

In coastal states with warmer climates, for example, the surf is usually bigger in the wintertime, resulting in more surfing-related injuries, including broken bones and head injuries, according to a recent article by the Claims Journal

The unique circumstances surrounding winter sports

According to Terry Zaslow, M.D., a director of the Children’s Orthopaedic Center Sports Concussion Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), the most common sports-related injuries in winter occur due to skiing and snowboarding, as well as sledding. This is part in due to novice and non-trained participants tackling on too much, too soon. In addition, these sports require that participants gain a significant amount of speed, which can turn a mild injury into a severe one, turning a bruise into a fracture, for example. 

However, Dr. Zaslow also warns that those in warmer climates be mindful of different conditions during winter. For example, swelling surfs and larger waves in coastal cities can cause serious surfing injuries. 

How to prevent winter sports related injuries?

The answer, as with any injury, is to be mindful of your surroundings and the things you can control, according to Dr. Zaslow. With skiing, snowboarding or surfing in particular, it's important to stay alert and recognizing your own personal limitations. 

On the ski slopes, this means keeping an eye out for fellow skiers, as well as obstacles including trees or rocks. On the water, it means recognizing currents and waves.

As always, it means paying attention and being careful. 

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