Wrong equipment, lack of skill, risky behavior - they are the most common causes of sometimes fatal crashes of racing athletes. Doctors have now put together the most important tips for a safe descent.
Around 39,000 injuries had to be treated in the ski winter 2014/2015, reports the Evaluation Center for Skiing Accidents (ASU). Most of these were knee injuries, but also the shoulder, hip, thigh or head were often affected.
10 tips for your safety
Many of these injuries could be avoided, say surgeons. The German Society for Orthopedics and Traumatology (DGOU) has put together ten tips for ski and snowboard fans that can significantly reduce the risk of injury on the slopes. Even weeks before the start of the ski season, winter sports enthusiasts could do something for their own safety, advise the doctors:
1. Make your muscles and joints fit with ski gymnastics. Special exercises to strengthen and stretch the hip and leg muscles, you can learn especially well under the guidance in the gym.
2. Have your boards repaired, and in particular the automatic binding mechanism of professionals. Poor or non-triggering safety bindings are among the most common causes of serious knee injuries.
3. Do an eye test - and if necessary, get a sports-ready pair of glasses or contact lenses in good time. Make sure that the glasses provide sufficient UV protection! In the glistening light, distances and speeds are particularly difficult to estimate.
4. If you are a novice skier or snowboarder, it is best to have the basic techniques and tricks presented by an experienced ski instructor. He also has emergency tips and can show you how to keep control of the fast boards on unexpected inclines.
5. Select the slopes according to your abilities and increase bit by bit. Do not be persuaded by friends or acquaintances to venture to whom you do not feel technically grown. Also your equipment and clothes should fit the requirements.
6. Take good care of yourself: Only those who provide their bodies with adequate and regular energy and fluid can demand maximum performance from them and concentrate fully at all times. Especially at height, the loss of fluid via the breathing air is often underestimated. Speaking of fluid: Alcohol renouncement should be self-evident before and on the piste.
7. Protect your head with a helmet. Even though head protection can not always prevent injury, in the event of an unfortunate fall, it is still the best insurance against heavy bruises to the skull or brain. Pads or rails, so-called protectors in the area of the elbows, knees and shins, can reduce the risk of broken bones or severe compression.
8. Take regular breaks - not only when you realize you can barely stand on the boards. Incidentally, you also increase the training effect and make faster progress on the slopes, because exhausted muscles can hardly train.
9. Warm up thoroughly before the first departure of the day or after longer breaks. Warm muscles are better protected against injury and can develop more power in extreme situations. The nervous system also wakes up during the so-called warm-up and can transmit its commands to the muscles faster and more precisely.
10. Avoid icy or soggy runs. On them it is much harder to keep the boards under control than on a well groomed runway. Especially in the afternoon, the quality of many routes suffers from the sun and heavy driving.
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