17 Jan Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month: Safety on the Slopes
Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month: Be Safe on the Slopes
January is National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month–a time for us to refocus on our safety and make sure we’re not putting ourselves in harm’s way without preparation this winter. Sports activities are responsible for about 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among children and adolescents in the US, with winter sports being responsible for nearly 17,000 head injuries treated in the US in 2009. Snowboarding, snow skiing, and even sledding are among some of those, while hockey was put in its own category, responsible for nearly 8,145 that year.
Let’s start the New Year by highlighting a few of the biggest winter sport contenders so that our readers can be cautious not only for themselves, but for their children in winter sports as well.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Snow skiing and snowboarding are highly popular winter sports, especially during Christmas or winter vacation. Almost 14 million people in the US participated in skiing in 2016, with nearly 7.7 million having participated in snowboarding. On an annual average, about 600,000 injuries are reported each year during these activities, 20% of which are made up of head trauma accounts, and 22% of those reports led to either loss of consciousness or concussion.
Although some of these concussions may be considered “mild,” they can easily turn into something more serious. Any fall, jolt, or blow that causes the head to rattle or move back and forth rapidly can lead to a concussion. It’s important to not only be aware of the likelihood of this type of head injury in winter sports but also be able to read the signs in the event that something happens. Even an accident as simple as landing wrong while exiting a ski lift or losing balance while strapped into a snowboard should be paid close attention to.
It is not shocking that one of the most aggressive and fast-paced sports has the highest rate of concussions amongst contact sports. In fact, there are designated positions in hockey (called enforcers), in which a player is meant to be aggressive with the corresponding player on the opposing team. Overall, the game of hockey is hard-hitting and leads to serious injuries.
Just last year, Cerebrum Health Centers treated former captain of the Dallas Stars Brenden Morrow for post-concussion syndrome. After 14 years of receiving hits during the game of hockey, he began experiencing disorientation, slurring, focus problems, dizziness, and sleep issues. For 4 months, he underwent high-tech neurological testing and treatment at Cerebrum Health Centers to help him regain certain cognitive functioning. As a result, he began feeling healthier and sharper.
“I didn’t want my wife having to become my caretaker in a few years,” Morrow said.
It’s important for hockey players and their families be aware of the prevalence of mild traumatic brain injury in the sport. Many who go on to play professionally end up missing weeks, months or entire seasons due to injury–that is, if they don’t end up retiring early from lingering concussion symptoms.
Don’t Let Sledding Go to Your Head
Not that sledding is a common occurrence in Texas, but it is in other places, and it’s said to put around 20,000 children in the emergency room each year. In the 2010 reported data, it showed that 51% of the injuries occurred during a collision, which were most likely to result in traumatic brain injury, and 34% of the injuries involved the head.
This winter, take the proper precautions to ensure you and your child’s safety.
Winter Sports Safety Tips
- Wear the approved and fitted safety equipment (helmets).
- Make appropriate rules that will set proper boundaries (no hits to the head or other dangerous rough housing).
- Be prepared by knowing the risks and potential dangers of a situation, such as sledding down a neighborhood hill.
- If someone has been hurt, take them from the situation. Do not let them return to the game or activity.
- See a professional for evaluation, in the event of a jolt or blow to the head.
If you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms of Post-Concussion Syndrome, Cerebrum can help. Call (855) 444-2724 or visit cerebrum.com/concussion to fill out a consult request on our website.