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

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Uchucklesaht Tribe purchases former Redford School

Property will be a “multi-use building” similar to The Thunderbird

Merry Makers create new craft fair for Port Alberni

Hansen Hall fair begins as Work of Heart organizers retire

Port Alberni highland dancers invited to North American competition

Kali Nahorney received honourable mention medals in two categories

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read