Orthopaedic Surgeon John Leupold, M.D. Offers Tips to Prevent Sports Injuries During Winter Games
This weekends University of Okoboji Winter Games festivities bring a much anticipated break to the winter season for local residents and visitors alike. Hours of recreation time will be spent on activities ranging from sledding to ice hockey, but if the proper precautions are not taken to ensure warmth and safety, severe injuries can occur. Local orthopaedic surgeon John Leupold, M.D., who specializes in sports injuries, offers precautions to those that will be participating in activities not only this weekend, but throughout the winter season.
According to Leupold, most winter sports injuries happen at the end of the day, when people overexert themselves to finish that one last activity before the days end. He said, Most of these injuries can easily be prevented if participants prepare for their sport by keeping in good physical condition, staying alert, and stopping when they are tired or in pain.
Leupold recommends the following tips to prevent winter sports injuries:
Never participate alone in a winter sport.
Keep in shape and condition muscles before partaking in winter activities.
Warm up and stretch thoroughly before playing. Cold muscles, tendons, and ligaments are vulnerable to injury. Warm up muscles with jumping jacks, walking in place for three to five minutes, and then slowly and gently stretching and holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves, and padding.
Check that equipment is in good working order and used properly.
Wear several layers of light, loose, and water- and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows the body to accommodate its constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that provides warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.
Know and abide by all rules of the sport.
Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snow boarding, before participating in them alone or with others.
Learn how to fall correctly and safely.
Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature to ensure safety.
Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if experiencing hypothermia or frostbite.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.
Avoid participating in sports if in pain or exhausted.