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Media Alert: Tips on Skiing Safely From the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

ROSEMONT, Ill., March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A day of family skiing in Canada ended with actress Natasha Richardson hospitalized with a severe brain injury. While this type of injury may be the exception and not the rule, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers some important information and tips on how to maximize safety while on the slopes.

  • Be aware of the cold temperatures and slippery surfaces those frigid temperatures can produce on the ski slopes
  • Always wear proper clothing and protective gear such as: helmets, goggles and padding, and make sure equipment is in good working order and used properly.
  • Avoid cold muscles, tendons and ligaments they are more susceptible to injury. To avoid this, do some light exercises for at least 3 to 5 minutes, then slowly and gently stretch the muscles to be exercised, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds
  • When falling, try to fall on your side or buttocks. Roll over naturally, turning your head in the direction of the roll.
  • Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating.
  • Never ski, sled, ice skate, snowmobile or snowboard alone.
  • Avoid participating in sports when experiencing pain or exhaustion.
  • Take frequent water breaks to prevent dehydration and overheating.
  • Become familiar with the whereabouts of fences, trees, rocks, open water and patches of ice.
  • Stay on marked trails and avoid potential avalanche areas, such as steep hillsides with little vegetation.
  • Be prepared for emergency situations and have a plan to reach medical personnel to treat injuries.
  • Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.
  • Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature to ensure safety.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2007:

  • Snowboarding was the leading cause of winter sports injuries, sending 149,388 people to hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings.
  • Skiing came in second with 131,454 injuries.
  • Other sports and activities on the list include:
    • Ice skating with 58,380 injuries
    • Ice hockey with 47,594 injuries
    • Sledding and tobogganing with 107,890 injuries
    • Snowmobiling with 34,699 injuries

For more information go to

SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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