January 10, 2010

Winter Sports Related Injuries

During winter months the cold outdoors can be transformed into a snow covered playground. But even winter’s favorite pastimes can be dangerous.

“It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt” is saying that hits home. Last year, doctors report almost 530,000 Americans suffered from a winter sports injury.

“A lot of it is bumps and bruises and scrapes. Some of the more significant injuries we see are head injuries,” said Dr. George Koburov, the Director of Pediatric Emergency Department at Edward Hospital.

When strapping on the skates, Park District officials want you to stay on one of the three designated rinks to avoid serious accidents.

“Don’t skate on one of our ponds or rivers, because they are not safe ice,” said Gary Foiles, the Program Manager for the Naperville Park District. “There may be 12 inches in one spot, and it may be thin in another.”

There’s nothing like a trip down a hill of fresh white snow. But some people start out at the top and end up in the Emergency Room.

“We have seen a few kids with broken noses and broken teeth from crashing into things,” said Dr. Koburov. “We actually had one child who actually lacerated her liver as a result of hitting a tree while on her sled.”

To avoid serious injury, stick to monitored Park District hills and use some common sense.

“Once you get down to the bottom of the hill, look up the hill,” said Foiles. “Because people who are coming at you really have a difficult time steering. And then walk up the hill on the sides, not right up the middle.”

Doctors say parents need to pay attention too. Kids tend to forget they are cold when they are having so much fun, so bundle them up.

“Children may still be able to be outdoors if they are properly clothed, but they will need frequent warming breaks,” said Dr Koburov. “And the areas that are most susceptible, you want to make sure those are well protected. You know, the ears and nose and the face, the fingers and toes, those are the areas that are susceptible to frostbite and similar cold related injury.”

If you get hurt or see someone else have an accident make sure to call 9-1-1.

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