Fast Facts: Winter Sports Injuries
Winter in Wisconsin allows for many opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the wonders that the snow and cold weather have to offer. Whether it is downhill skiing, sledding or any other activity, there are potential dangers that come with winter activities. In 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported roughly 200,000 people treated at hospitals for winter sports injuries nationally. The sport with the most injuries was downhill skiing, followed by snowboarding. Other common activities that have a high count of injuries are snowmobiling, sledding and ice skating.
The WHA Information Center analyzed Wisconsin data from January 2019 to September 2021 to determine how patients in Wisconsin are impacted by winter sport activity injuries. Snowmobiling accidents had the highest count of visits to hospitals during this time period. The activities with the second most visits during these years were downhill skiing and sledding. There is a definite trend of higher visit counts from January to March when analyzing quarterly data. The number of winter sport injury visits decrease dramatically after the main winter months. Males had more hospital visits for winter sports injuries than females—males account for almost 70% of all visits. The age group that had the highest count of visits was 11-to-20-year-olds.
Following are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help avoid winter sport injuries:
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding.
- Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.
- Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and sever drops in temperature.
- Warm up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
- Never participate alone.