It’s That Time of the Year!
Who doesn’t love snow? A night of snowfall beautifies the surrounding and takes away the morbidity of the winter season. People go back to their homes to spend some time with their families. This is also the good time for ski resorts as thousands of sports enthusiasts use this time to indulge in winter sports activities like skiing and snowboarding.
Ski and Snowboarding are considered to be two of the most popular winter sports. The adrenaline rush one gets as one speeds down the slope is unbeatable. But as exciting as these sports sound, the amount of risk inherent in them can’t be ignored. This is the reason why for some, these sports bring joyful and memorable experiences but for others, they become a curse for life or say a reason for death.
TBI Awareness Month
January has arrived. The month is special. January is the month to spread awareness about brain injuries caused during winter sports. Every year, a large number of people either gets fatally injured by or succumb to brain injuries.
Big Loss For Fans
Ski resorts are not just famous among sports enthusiasts but also among celebrities. Every year, luxury ski resorts like Eagle Point resort, Megeve, and others entertain celebrity guests who not just enjoy the amenities but also the adventures in the snow.
Unfortunately, we have lost some great people from the industry and other fields to this dangerous sport. This includes Doak Walker, Sonny Bono, John McWethy and many others.
For last three years, Formula 1 racer Michael Schumacher has been struggling for his life. The ace racer went into a coma after he suffered major head injuries while skiing in French Alps in Meribel. Recently, it was reported that he has come out of the coma but is still struggling for his life.
What Do The Stats Say?
As per the data collected by NSAA, a total of 52 million people were recorded visiting ski resorts for snow sports in the year 2015-16. According to NSAA, “a skier/snowboarder visit is defined as one person visiting a ski area for all or any part of a day or night.” Out of 52 million people recorded visiting in the given time range, 0.85 catastrophic injuries per one million skiers/snowboarder visit was recorded.
The number of accidents has gone down since last few years but it is still alarming. If we see the data carefully, the number clearly reflects the risky nature of the sports. Most of the stats do not include off resort accidents. If we combine the number of accidents that happen both on and off resort, the number would be both saddening as well as threatening.
One would try to reason the cause of the fatality with the carelessness of skier or snowboarder but data shows a different picture. As per the data collected, over 60% people injured wore helmet. Helmet and safety equipment are very important but they can only save a person to a certain extent.
In the case of winter sports, most of the time it is either speed or collision that lead to the accident. So, if we have to spread awareness about security during winter sports activity, we have to take these two factors into account.
Initiative To Educate
Several non-profit organizations like Johnny O have been spreading awareness about the underlying risk in the winter sports. The aim of these organizations is to make people aware and educate them on the ways through which they can both enjoy the sports and at the same time, keep themselves safe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed down some preventive measures through which sports enthusiasts can keep themselves safe from head injuries or any adversary during any winter sports activity:
- Wear approved, well-maintained and properly fitted protective equipment, such as helmets.
- Stipulate a no hits to the head or other dangerous play in hockey and other sports such as skiing, snowboarding or snowmobiling.
- Practice safe playing techniques and encourage athletes to follow the rules of play during all winter sports events.
(The steps mentioned above and below were published on Johnny O’s website as a part of their initiative but you can find a complete guide on CDC’s site as well).
CDC has been proactively collaborating with sports institutions and educating students about TBIs and concussion.
CDC has also come up with a four-step action plan which should be followed when a concussion is suspected during sports activities. The four steps include:
- Remove the athlete from play.
- Ensure the athlete is evaluated by a health care professional experienced in evaluating for concussion.
- Inform the athlete’s parents or guardians about the possible concussion and give them the fact sheet on concussion.
- Keep the athlete out of play the day of the injury and until a health care, professional experienced in evaluating concussion says they are symptom-free and it’s OK to return to play.
While skiing and snowboarding are pretty dangerous, one must not stop themselves from trying them. Instead, a person should take part in every sports activity. The important thing is safety. No one wants to lose their loved ones. While helmets and equipment do their job, a slight mistake can cost you your life irrespective of the precautions you took. So, participate in these winter sports with responsibility because at the end of the season, someone is waiting for you at home to hear your adventures. Be sure to be present!