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Tips to Stay Safe while Playing Winter Sports

Update Date: Jan 21, 2013 03:31 AM EST

For those who love to play different kinds of sports during the winter season, here are a few tips to keep safe while playing. These pointers were given by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, since injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, dislocations and fractures are commonly associated with winter sports.

In the year 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission had estimated that approximately 290,000 or more underwent treatment for winter sport-associated injuries. Out of them, 58,000 or more were injuries due to sledding, 108,986 were due to snowboarding, and snow skiing injuries reported 124,324 treatments.

"As with all sports, there are numerous things to consider before getting in the game. Winter sports are no different. Before hitting the slopes, know the basics - stay alert to the unpredictable weather conditions and make certain to wear the appropriate gear as these two factors play a great role in the safety of these sports," Anand Murthi, M.D. , orthopedic surgeon and AAOS spokesman, said in a news release.

The general cautions to be observed during winter sports season are:

- Winter sports should never be played alone; always inform a third person before going to the game.

- The local weather report should be periodically checked and precautions should be taken if there is a chance of adverse conditions like snowfall, storm and other weather glitches.

- Dress should be befitting the winter sports, including protective gear like helmet, goggles, etc. Make sure that clothes are light, water- and wind-resistant and not too tight-fitting.

- Make sure you have properly fitting equipment. It's easy to find out how to choose the proper skis, boots, or even about hockey shin guard sizing 

- It is very important to do some warm-up exercise before the sport, as that lessens the risk of injury.

- Consumption of water is very important to avoid the risk of dehydration and to eliminate altitude sickness. Alcohol consumption should be strictly avoided before or during the sport.

- A good health condition is desirable before participating in winter sports, so for people over the age of 50, a medical checkup prior to participating is advisable.

- Carrying a cellphone during the game is also good, as it ensures connectivity during an emergency.

- It is extremely important to follow the rules of the game, and taking unnecessary risks should be avoided.

- Taking part in the game while in pain or if tired is not advisable, as it increases the risk of injury.

- In case of hypothermia or frostbite, immediate medical attention should be sought to prevent permanent damage.

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