Preventing Snowboarding Injuries

By: Jim Garza

Snowboarding is called an extreme sport, and with good reason. If you are a snow boarder, your odds of sustaining some type of injuring during your snowboarding activities are more than 50%. Skiers and snowboarders, once they get going, can reach speeds up to well over 50 miles per hour so it's no wonder that injuries occur.

Of all types of snowboarding injuries, head injuries are among the most worrisome. In addition to head injuries, snowboarders experience a number of other accidents, mostly consisting of wrist sprains and fractures, elbow injuries, shoulder bruises and separations, and ankle injuries.

The severity of none of these, however, is as great at a head injury. A concussion is a serious injury and not to be taken lightly. It can possibly end your snowboarding activities for good. The biggest mistake that anyone suffering from a concussion can make is not to seek medical help.

Signs of a concussion are possible unconsciousness, dizziness, headaches, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, and confusion. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help immediately.

The tragedy is that in this day and age there is absolutely no reason for the concussion rates from snowboarding to be so high. To protect yourself, you simply need to wear a helmet. True, a snowboarding helmet cannot guarantee that you will not suffer a concussion, but it does increase the odds that in a fall you will be unharmed - and may even save your life. Furthermore, even if you do have a head injury, a helmet will likely reduce its severity.

The reason a helmet can decrease the severity of the injury is that it protects your head from the full force of a direct head on collision with the ground, a tree, or some other snowboarder. You head is cushioned and thus you never receive the full impact of the blow.

At one time, many snowboarders chose not to wear helmets because they were unstylish and ugly. Nowadays, however, there is no excuse. There are enough headgear styles to make your head spin. The second reason for not wearing helmet has usually been discomfort. The old "one shape fits all" helmet is obsolete. Today, you have the luxury of being able to choose between a number of different shapes.

Your helmet should be custom measured for your head size and preferably your head shape also. You should always try different models to find the style that gives you the most comfort. The helmet should be snug but not tight. And you should test wearing it with everything you normally wear on your head while on the slopes - such as goggles, glasses, headbands, and so on.

The first step, of course, in determining your head size is to take a tape measure and measure your head. The tricky thing about measuring a head is that every head is not the same shape and ideally it will not be measured at the same point. This is the reason you have to ultimately try a helmet on before being satisfied of the fit. Ideally, measure the head at the point just above the eyebrows holding the tape measure parallel. It's best to take more than one measurement to ensure that your measurements are accurate.

The tape measure can be in either inches or centimeters. Don't worry about which ones to use. You can always convert metric to English or vice versa.

Of course, wearing a helmet is only one of the things you should do to prevent injuries on the slopes. You should also take other mountain safe precautions like getting the right type of training, wearing the correct boots and bindings, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and always snowboarding with a partner.

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