January marks the start of National Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month, a campaign that aims to bring attention to the fact that, though winter sports deaths are rare, traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of sports injury-related fatalities. And, in fact, sports-related accidents are one of the leading causes of TBIs. According to the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, there are approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million TBIs resulting from sports-related injuries in the U.S. every year.
Thankfully, those who enjoy winter sports can take a few precautions to greatly lower their TBI risk. Whether you enjoy skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, or any type of winter sport or activity, making sure you stay properly protected can help you enjoy every minute spent outdoors.
Winter Sports Safety Tips
Getting outside and being active is a great way to enjoy the New Jersey winter. Whether you’re spending a weekend with friends at one of our nearby ski resorts or taking your kids sledding, it’s important to keep a few safety tips in mind.
Our winter sports safety tips:
- Wear a Helmet: Perhaps the number one most important thing you can do to lower your risk of traumatic brain injury is to wear a helmet while skiing, snowboarding, etc. Make sure you have the right helmet; a bicycle helmet is not sufficient for protecting you during a fall on packed snow or ice. Instead, look for a helmet specifically designed for winter sports/activities.
- Know Your Limits: Make sure you are in good physical condition and are experienced enough to safely perform the activity. Never try to ski a run that is beyond your capability or attempt an ice skating maneuver that you are not comfortable with.
- Double Check Weather Conditions: Always make sure you are aware of the current weather conditions before heading out; then, double check. Also, be aware that winter weather can change quickly. If conditions become unsafe, call it a day and head back out when the weather clears.
- Use the Right Equipment: Make sure you have the proper gear, including safety gear and protective clothing, before heading out. It’s also a good idea to check your gear to make sure everything is working properly. A broken buckle or strap could lead to a crash, which might end in serious injury.
- Teach Children to Stay Safe: Make sure to pass on safety tips to your children and teenagers, and always make sure they wear helmets while snowboarding or engaging in any winter sport or activity. Teach your children how to safely stop if they are sledding, snowboarding, or skiing downhill, and make sure they know to get help if they fall or become injured.
Know the Signs of a TBI
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your own safety when participating in winter sports or activities is to know the signs of traumatic brain injuries, particularly concussions. That way, you can make sure you get the proper medical treatment if you or your loved one suffers a possible concussion or TBI.
Common concussion symptoms include:
- “Ringing” in ears
- Inability to remember the accident
- Loss of consciousness
- Sensitivity to light/noise
- Trouble balancing
- Slow speech
Symptoms for other types of TBIs are similar and may also include changes in mood or behavior, long-term memory loss, persistent headache, significant confusion, and other signs.
At Palmisano & Goodman, P.A., we encourage you to enjoy all the fun winter has to offer while staying as safe as possible. If you’d like more information or wish to discuss a TBI case with one of our attorneys, we invite you to contact our firm today.