Sledding Source of Most Winter Sports Injuries: Report

More than 700,000 injuries linked to the activity in U.S. each year, surgeon says

SUNDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- Sledding is the most common cause of injury among winter sports enthusiasts, according to an orthopedic surgeon who made a list of the top five injury-causing winter activities.

"More than 700,000 injuries are reported each year in the United States due to sledding. More than 30 percent are head injuries caused by collisions," Dr. Daryl O'Connor, a sports medicine specialist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill., part of the Loyola University Health System, said in a Loyola news release.

The others in the top five are:

  • Hockey: "Lacerations, as well as neck, shoulder and knee injuries are common in hockey. Many injuries are caused through contact with another player, the ice, a pack or actual skate blade," O'Conner reports.
  • Ice skating: "Injuries to the wrist as well as head and neck are common and most injuries are caused by falls."
  • Snowboarding: "Wrist and elbow injuries are caused by falls on outstretched hands."
  • Skiing: "Knees really take a pounding and injury is often caused by extreme twisting force propelled by the skis."

O'Connor also warned about the dangers of skitching, where a person grabs a car's rear bumper and slides on the soles of the shoes, or is pulled by ropes on inner tubes or sleds through icy streets.

"This is not even a sport, it's just being foolish," he said. "In addition to broken bones, neck and shoulder injuries, young people can suffer fatal head trauma."

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers sledding safety tips.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, Feb. 24, 2011

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