A quarter of skiers obtain injuries, only a third of snowboarders wear a helmet, only half of skiers consider themselves to be a safe skier and just 28% of snowboarders admit to being safe. This is according to the latest winter sports research conducted by London Bridge Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents states that approximately 10,000 UK skiers and snowboarders are admitted to hospital each year with injuries following their winter sports holidays, so safety on the slopes is paramount.
The December 2015 study has highlighted the healthcare trends and risks to winter sports holidaymakers. The research found that less than two thirds wear a helmet when skiing and just over a third wear a helmet when snowboarding.
The study also revealed that snowboarding is the safer sport, with less reported injuries in comparison to skiing. Only 13% of snowboarders have injured themselves on holiday, but a quarter of skiers have been injured. Half of these injuries were considered to be ‘not that serious’, but 38% were rated as serious.
In terms of the injuries sustained, Mr Simon Owen-Johnstone, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at London Bridge Hospital comments: “Upper limb winter sports injuries are not as common as lower limb injuries. Sprains and strains are the most common, but after those the most likely are shoulder dislocations, collarbone fractures and disruptions of the acromio-clavicular joint, located at the end of the collarbone.”
Commenting on the preparation for holidays Owen-Johnstone continues: “Winter sport is hard athletic activity. It’s not something you can do well after 51 weeks of inactivity. To enjoy it properly you’ll need to have a level of fitness, and that needs to start at least six weeks before departure, preferably longer. Thigh and knee endurance is the most useful, but spine flexibility is important too.
“If you get injured, whether you have treatment abroad or not, you’re likely to need ongoing care on return to the UK. Injuries take time to recover. Some injuries are not apparent until days or weeks later, so if you have symptoms when you’re home they should really be checked out.”