December 26, 2008

Fleeting fun can cause head/neck injury

U.S. neurologists say there were almost 8,000 snowboarder head and neck injuries last year.

Experts at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons say the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports an additional 5,701 head injuries due to sledding and 5,483 ice hockey head injuries.

Don't risk your neck for that fleeting moment of fun, because it takes only one moment for a life to change forever, officials at the AANS say in a statement. Wear a helmet and follow other safety precautions to help put a freeze on winter sports injuries.

Among the safety precautions they advise:

-- Always wear appropriate sport clothing and use only protective head gear approved for specific sports by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

-- Do not participate in sports when ill, very tired, after consuming alcohol or when weather conditions pose a serious hazard.

-- Follow all posted signs and warnings. Use only sleds that can be steered, and never go down a slope head first. Ice skate only in designated areas and check ice for cracks and debris. Drive snowmobiles slowly and only on marked trails.