NEWS | Dec. 10, 2013

Super Skier's last race

By 628th Air Base Wing Safety Office

Enthusiasts of winter sports - both outdoor and indoor - are getting ready for skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, basketball, ice hockey, etc. There are many activities and just as many chances for injuries while participating in your favorite winter sport. Just make sure that you are physically prepared and have the proper personal protective equipment for whatever winter activity you plan to undertake.

Last year during the holiday/winter season, there were 141 Class C sports-related mishaps: 44 on-duty and 97 off-duty. With proper preparation, many of those were preventable. And that's only the numbers for the Air Force!

According to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2011, nearly 300,000 people were treated for winter sports-related injuries. These included more than 58,000 injuries caused by sledding, nearly 109,000 snowboarding injuries and more than 124,000 skiing injuries.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers the following advice to help you prepare at http://healthfinder.gov.

· Check the weather before heading outdoors. Pay attention to warnings about storms and severe drops in temperature. Make adjustments for icy conditions, deep or wet snow, and bad weather.
· Dress properly. Wear several layers of light, loose clothing that's both water- and wind-resistant to stay safe, warm and dry. Wear appropriate safety gear - such as goggles and helmets - and ensure that all equipment is in proper working order.
· Don't go out alone. You should always be with a partner and remain in sight of each other. Make sure that someone else knows about your plans and whereabouts during your outdoor activity. It's also a good idea to carry a cellphone with you.
· Warm up thoroughly before your activity in order to prevent muscle, tendon and ligament injuries.
· Drink lots of water before, during and after outdoor activities.
· Stay in shape and condition your muscles before the season begins. If you are over age 50, consider having a medical check-up before you start participating in a winter sport.
· Know and obey all the rules of your sport. Take a lesson from a qualified instructor, particularly in sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
· If you're in pain or feeling tired, call it a day.
· Seek shelter and medical attention if signs of hypothermia or frostbite affect you or a companion. Early symptoms of frostbite include numbness and tingling, lack of feeling and poor motion in your fingers or toes.