Winter Sports Safety

Winter Sports Safety

Skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and skating – some of the winter sports many are excited to participate in this snowy season. Especially with the popularity of X Games, winter “extreme” sports have more and more people heading to the snow slopes for some adrenaline-charged fun. Traveling down ski slopes at 25 plus miles per hour can feel exhilarating but it can be very dangerous if you were to crash and hit your head going that fast. The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine recently conducted a study on the incidence of head and neck injuries in seven extreme sports. Snowboarding accounted for 30% of 40,042 concussions that occurred in 2011. Snow skiing was associated with 25% of concussions.

Since January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) awareness month, it’s a great time to become aware of the dangers and ways you can prevent a TBI from occurring the next time you are out enjoying some of these winter sports.

Types of Traumatic Brain Injury

A concussion is the most common type of TBI. A concussion can occur when an impact or sudden change in momentum or direction causes the brain to shift. Other types of TBI are contusions and Coup-Contrecoups.  A contusion is a bruise or bleeding on the brain, while a Coup-Contrecoup, is caused when the force of movement is strong enough to slam the brain into the interior of the skull. Each of these are dangerous and can cause serious effects.

Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury can have wide-ranging physical and psychological complications. Severe injuries increase the risk of a greater number and more-severe complications. Some symptoms to look for are headaches, nausea or vomiting, balance problems, sensitivity to light and noise and confusion. These can be signs of TBI that can have lasting complications. Some of the less serious complications are headaches, ringing in ears and vertigo. However, TBI can also result in seizures, blood vessel damage, coma, stroke and brain death. There are many other effects associated with TBI, which is why it’s extremely important to take preventative measures when participating in any of the cold season sports.

Ways to Prevent Traumatic Brain Injury While Participating in Winter Sports

  • Use a well-fitting helmet at all times and replace your helmet after any serious fall or head impact since most helmets can only withstand a single impact
  • Know your limitations and stay within them
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with trails, sledding hills and slopes to be able to safely go down them. Look for sharp turns, blind spots or sudden knolls or drops
  • Avoid crowded areas and stay within the center of trails to avoid obstacles

Urgent Care in Coachella Valley

For most concussion symptoms, you can be treated at VIP Urgent Care. VIP Urgent Care is the most comprehensive independent provider of urgent care services in the Coachella Valley. We’re open Monday through Friday, on weekends, and holidays. Call (760) 674-1923 for Palm Desert, or (760) 969-5999 for Palm Springs to schedule an appointment.


Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. If you are displaying very serious signs such as an inability to wake up, seizures, or repeated vomiting, it is a time-sensitive medical emergency and you should seek immediate care and proceed to the emergency room right away.