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Winter Sport Injury Prevention

Our Medical Fitness Center is nestled in a town known for winter sports, ranging from ice skating to skiing to ice hockey. Of course, with participating in sports comes the inherent risk of accidents and injuries, some of which are avoidable. We're going to dive deeper into common injuries associated with two common sports- skiing/ snowboarding and hockey- and ways that you can prevent them.

Skiing/ Snowboarding

There are a variety of factors that can lead to

an accident or injury while skiing or snowboarding. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Improper preparation

  • Varied snow conditions

  • Falls and collisions

  • Lift accidents

As a result, common injuries associated with skiing and snowboarding are ACL injuries, shoulder dislocations, lower extremity fractures, spinal injuries, closed head injuries, and wrist injuries.

While not all accidents and injuries can be avoided, here are some helpful tips you can put into practice to help prevent them:

  1. Hire an instructor. Instructors can educate you on safe skiing techniques and how to properly fit equipment. They can also advise what trails are appropriate for you and your skiing ability.

  2. Appropriate equipment. Did you know that only 48% of U.S skiers and snowboarders routinely wear helmets? Even though all resorts do not require riders to wear one, the use of helmets and other protective equipment (wrist guards, elbow pads, etc.) can decrease the rate of head, neck, and face injuries by 43%.

  3. Participant Responsibility. The National Ski Areas Association has established a responsibility code for reducing risk. Some of the key components of the code include always staying in control, being aware of other skiers/ snowboarders, observing signs and warnings, and stopping in a safe place for you and others.

Ice Hockey

Hockey is a contact sport that requires power, speed, and finesse.

As compared to non-contact sports, athletes that compete in contact sports are at a greater risk of injury. In hockey specifically, the susceptibility of injury is dependent on:

  • the level of participation

  • equipment

  • position

  • style of play

  • pre-existing injuries.

Common hockey injuries include concussions, shoulder separation, elbow bursitis, ACL and meniscus tears, and muscle strains.

Here are some preventative measures you can take as a hockey athlete to drastically reduce the chance of injuries:

  • Schedule a preseason screening exam with an athletic trainer or primary care physician. These trained professionals can identify existing injuries and muscle imbalances.

  • Participate in a sport-specific strength and condition program.

  • Ensure equipment fits properly and is not worn out or overused.


"Hockey Injuries and Prevention." , Stop Sports Injuries, 2010. MedBridge.

"Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries." , Stop Sports Injuries, 2010. MedBridge.

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