SOURCE: AAOS

January 17, 2008 11:15 ET

X-Treme Sports Can Be Extremely Dangerous

Prevent Serious Injuries From "Extreme" Winter Sports by Following These Safety Tips

ROSEMONT, IL--(Marketwire - January 17, 2008) - For many thrill-seekers, extreme (or "x-treme") sports can be fun way to get an adrenaline rush during those long winter months. Popular televised events such as the X Games have led to increased participation in these sports, which can include downhill ski racing and jumping, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow biking, and ice climbing. Extreme sports often involve risky stunts, such as trick jumps and flips at high speeds -- there can be a high chance of injury for many participants.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has some strategies to help prevent injuries from extreme winter sports.

"Kids watch extreme sporting events on television and they think flying through the air on a snowboard looks easy," says orthopaedic surgeon Michael Archdeacon, MD. "They don't see all the practice it takes to do that -- and they don't see how often extreme athletes get injured while learning their stunts."

While it is difficult to track injuries due to extreme sports specifically, skiing in general is known to be the leading cause of winter sports injuries, sending 133,585 people to hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings in 2006, according to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Snowboarding resulted in 127,643 injuries and snowmobiling caused 20,390.

The Academy offers the following strategies to help prevent injuries from extreme winter sports:

--  Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more susceptible to injury. Do
    some light exercise for at least 3 to 5 minutes, then slowly and gently
    stretch the muscles to be exercised, holding each stretch for at least 30
    seconds.
    
--  Do not try to imitate stunts seen in televised events. The people in
    those events -- even the X Games, which appear to be less formal than
    events like the Olympics -- are professional athletes with years of
    training. If you have children who watch these events, make sure that they
    understand this.
    
--  Never participate in extreme sports alone. Many extreme sports
    enthusiasts have a coach or responsible party overseeing any activity.
    Have a partner who can assist you or go for help if you get injured.
    
--  Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves
    and padding, and make sure equipment is in good working order and used
    properly.
    
--  Take frequent water breaks to prevent dehydration and overheating.
    
--  Avoid participating in any sport when experiencing pain or exhaustion.
    
--  For warmth and protection, wear several layers of light, loose and
    water- and wind-resistant clothing. Layering allows you to add and remove
    clothing to accommodate your body's constantly changing temperature when
    outside or in a cold environment such as an indoor ice rink.
    
--  Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness, as well as
    ample ankle support.
    
--  When falling, try to fall on your side or buttocks. Roll over
    naturally, turning your head in the direction of the roll.
    
--  Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in
    temperature to ensure safety.
    

More information on sports-related injury prevention:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00062
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00321

About AAOS: www.aaos.org/about/about.asp

To view this release online, go to: http://www.pwrnewmedia.com/2008/aaos011708/index.html

Contact Information