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

Overnight fire at Kimberley Transfer Station

Kimberley Fire Department contains blaze at transfer station; cause unknown at this time

Kimberley Fire Department has lowest operating cost per capita compared to similar communities

FCABC 2016 Comparative Analysis shows annual savings of $335 per person.

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Kimberley Fire Department releases 2017 Community Wildfire Protection Program

The report outlines fire hazard areas and their potential treatments.

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

Most Read