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Dealing With Snow Sport Injuries

By Amber Ford

Dealing With Snow Sport Injuries

With ski and snowboard season well under way, upticks in common injuries related to both sports can be seen at many of the Mt. Hood resorts. As snow sport enthusiasts flock to Mt. Hood for the thrill of riding down the many slopes the resorts have to offer, riders are encouraged to use caution to prevent serious injuries.

According to The Central Orthopedic Group, injuries while enjoying winter sports are quite common and should be taken seriously. The Central Orthopedic Group lists five of the most common injuries among riders and also offers suggestions on how to protect oneself and prevent serious injury. Head injuries, collateral ligament tear, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or rupture, wrist fracture and shoulder injuries are the most common injuries snowboarders and skiers may encounter. While there are many situations when injury cannot be avoided, the Central Orthopedic Group suggests knowing your personal skill level, becoming familiar with the terrain and wearing proper equipment to protect yourself against serious injury.
A majority of the resorts located on Mt. Hood have their own medical staff to help with injuries and illness, with Mt. Hood Meadows even adding a Providence Medical Center to their facility during the winter season. While staff can assist in aiding those injured on the slopes, severe injuries can sometimes trigger medevac situations where a helicopter must escort the injured party off of the mountain to the nearest medical facility. According to Timberline ski patrol employee Hunter Parrott, many of the snowsport-related injuries he sees coincide with those listed by The Central Orthopedic Group. “I have worked as ski patrol now for 2 years and the most common injuries I have seen are head/neck, shoulder, knees, tibia, fibula and collarbone injuries,” Parrott said.

While ski and snowboarders are encouraged to use their own discretion when factoring in their abilities with the runs they chose to ride, ski patrol employees at all resorts begin their shift by taking laps to check for unexpected changes in terrain and unexpected hazards on the hill. “We are responsible for the safety and well being of our guests,” Parrott said. “Whenever somebody gets hurt, stuck, lost or abandoned, we are there to render aid and assist with the problem to solve the situation,” Parrott added. “We are trained to do so to make sure that guests leave our immediate care in a safe and effective manner,” Parrott said.
All resorts encourage guests to use common sense when skiing and snowboarding, especially when it comes to those unfamiliar with the terrain. Proper gear, riding in pairs and keeping a means of communication with someone not on the run are all ways winter sports enthusiasts can stay safe while enjoying all of the thrills and adventures Mt. Hood has to offer.

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