GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Winter may be off to a slow start when it comes to snowfall, but before we know it, many of us will be lacing up our skates, pulling out our sleds and hitting the ski hills. The sports medicine specialists with the Spectrum Health Medical Group want you to put safety first when it comes to gearing up for the winter sports season. It's estimated that as many as thirty million injuries related to winter sports occur each year with ages five to fourteen being the most common age for injury. The majority of injuries are bruises, strains, sprains and tendonitis with about five percent being injuries of a more serious nature like fractures and head injuries. To avoid being one who gets hurt, take these precautions. Wear proper clothing to prevent cold injuries like hypothermia and frost bite. Stay hydrated. Heat injuries can occur in winter due to dehydration and overworking. Wear sunscreen and lip balm with sunscreen to prevent sun burns. Condition yourself prior to participating in your sport and know your limits. When skiing and snowboarding, make sure you have proper fitting equipment and if the sport is new to you, take introductory lessons. Other recommendations include wearing goggles to prevent eye injuries from sunlight and padded clothing, plus helmets to prevent head injuries. When sledding, only sled down safe hills that are obstacle free and away from roads and streets. Use a sturdy sled without sharp edges or broken parts. If skating or hockey is your sport of choice, use proper fitting equipment, including pads and helmets, even in practice. For any injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible, especially if the pain lasts more than a couple of days. By doing this you can receive proper treatment and return to your sport in the quickest, yet safest manner.
Winter sports and your safety
Dr. Matthew Axtman, Sports Medicine Specialist
Spectrum Health Medical Group
4100 Lake Drive
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