Dr. Shelina Babul, the associate director and a sports injury specialist at the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children's Hospital, encourages people to hit the ice and the slopes this season, but she has some key safety suggestions. "To minimize injury in any winter sport or activity, people need to be mindful of their abilities, aware of their surroundings, and use the proper safety equipment," she said.
Specifically, she suggests the following:
- If you ski or snowboard, make sure a qualified technician or ski shop checks and adjusts your bindings annually.
- Always check the weather and the environmental conditions before heading out. If the weather is poor, stay home.
- Be aware of your surroundings—another person could lose an edge, fall, and collide with you.
- Be smart about your abilities and experience. Don't try to do more than you're capable of doing.
- Remember that no helmet will completely prevent a concussion—it will just minimize the severity of the injury.
- It's not enough to wear a helmet—wear it properly. If you fall or collide with another person, an unsecured helmet will fall off and provide no protection at all. Check the fit:
- Make sure chin straps are tight enough—you should be able to fit one finger in between your chin and the strap.
- Straps should fit properly in a Y shape over each ear.
- Your helmet should sit two fingers' width above your eyebrows.