American orthopedic surgeons warn about the risk of ever greater injuries on the ski slopes and snowboard. Here are some numbers and a series of tips to limit the risks.
Skiing and snowboarding are popular winter sports. But every year, a large number of injuries are recorded: during the 2015 - 2016 season in France, 150,000 wounded were taken in charge by Mountain Doctors, of which 1/3 brought by the services of the tracks. US doctors warn of the dangers of the growing popularity of these activities in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. "Skiing and snowboarding are associated with a lot of injuries, with specific patterns and anatomical areas affected," says Brett D. Owens, orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and lead author of the article.
The risk of collision increases on French runs
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that in the United States, more than 140,000 people were treated in hospitals, medical offices and emergency rooms in 2015 for ski-related injuries and snowboarding. In France, it is the collisions on the ski areas that worry the mountain doctors. According to them, they would have gone from 8% to 13% over the last ten years and could lead to life-threatening risks. In 2016, two people were killed in a collision on the blue slope of the Grand Massif Flaine (Haute-Savoie): one hit hard by a snowboarder and the other victim of a heart attack after colliding.
According to the article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, snowboarders are three times more likely to hurt themselves than skiers. In 1989, snowboard injuries accounted for 4% of all winter sports injuries. In 1999, they accounted for up to 56% of these injuries. "While some are inevitable, many are caused by skiers and snowboarders outpacing their comfort zone with speed or technical challenges." It's essential to stay in control and be ready to slow down or stop. to avoid colliding with another person, "warns Dr. Owens.
Some tips to limit the risks
The most common injuries are those of the spine, pelvis, shoulder, wrists, hands, knees, feet and ankles. Skiers are more likely to injure the lower limbs, especially the knees, "because of rotational forces on the knee". Snowboarders, they are more likely to hurt themselves to the upper limbs "because of falls on their hands".
To limit the risks, get ready for the season and hydrate your body well. Make sure your equipment is in perfect condition and you know how to use it. Check that the edges of your skis or snowboard are flat and sharp for maximum performance and check that you can easily take off your boots from your skis. Check the weather forecast regularly and be careful when the slopes are very busy. Always wear a helmet and always follow the signs and instructions. Do not venture off track.