Health Hazards of Snowboarding and How to Avoid Them

This article originally appeared on AndresManuelOlivaresMiranda.org on Oct. 12, 2017.

Snowboarding started out as an alternative to traditional skiing. Over the years, the popularity of X-Games led to millions of people learning about and participating in the unique sport. Not every snowboarder is a competitor: Like skiing, scores of people take to the mountains to enjoy snowboarding. The activity, however, comes with risks. Both newbies and experienced snowboarders must be aware of the dangers in order to reduce the chances of an injury.

Crashing and Colliding

Snowboarding might not always be smooth gliding. The chance of a boarder impacting with an object or another boarder remains a possibility. Hitting a tree or crashing into a rock can cause serious injuries. Even if the snowboarder isn’t traveling at a high rate of speed, the human body isn’t designed to handle the impact.

Probably the most worrisome aspect of impact-related injuries is the problem may be internal. Internal injuries might not reveal themselves quickly, which means they may worsen or become life-threatening. This could happen before someone realizes just how bad things are. Without a proper medical evaluation after an impact incident, the snowboarder might not have any idea how they are hurt.

Head and Neck Injury Potential

A spill, even a mild one, could cause whiplash or head trauma. Completing avoiding a bad spill or impacting into something head first probably won’t be possible. Reducing head and neck injury chances down to zero can’t be done. Wearing a helmet, however, is something anyone can do. Wearing a helmet cannot guarantee any injuries. As common safety sense dictates, wearing a helmet adds layers of safety that wouldn’t be present without one.

Injuries to the Lower Body

The legs and lower torso perform a lot of work while riding on a snowboard. Twisting puts pressure on the knees, ankles, and more. Wearing kneepads and the proper footwear and snowboarding pants assist the cause of keeping hazards and injury risks lowered. Buy quality gear as well. Cheap equipment doesn’t always deliver the best protection.

Avoid Dangerous Moves

The champions you see on television performing wild stunts on the X-Games not only get paid well for their performances, they practiced and trained very hard for years. Trying to mimic risky stunts isn’t the best idea. This is doubly true when you lack the necessary skill level.

Speaking of skill level, teaching yourself how to snowboard also falls under the category of “risky behavior.” Pay for quality instruction so you can learn the basics. Doing so definitely helps with safety since lessons make you a knowledgeable and, hopefully, safer snowboarder.

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