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Winter Sports Injuries High Among Children

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Winter sports injuries high among children

Orthopaedic surgeons urge children and adults to follow

safety guidelines to prevent injuries this winter

ROSEMONT, Ill.( skiing, ice hockey, snow boarding, ice-skating, sledding and tobogganing occupy the majority of childrens time during the winter months. But these sports also get a lot of attention in hospital emergency rooms and doctors offices across the nation, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

When the first snowfall hits, children naturally race outside with their favorite snow gear, but all that enthusiasm could easily turn into a trip to the hospital emergency room, explained James Herndon, MD, president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The majority of emergency room visits for injuries related to winter sports could easily be prevented if participants abided by rules of the sport, along with keeping in good physical condition and staying alert.

Snow boarding leads the list of winter sports with the most injuries for persons under age 20. In the year 2002, there were 96,697 injuries related to snow boarding treated in hospitals and doctors offices, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Other winter sports on the list are snow skiing with 72,088 injuries; sledding and tobogganing with 43,288 injuries; ice skating with 39,120 injuries; ice hockey with 26,521 injuries, snowmobiling with 7,756 injuries and snow tubing with 5,913 injuries. The 2002 reported injuries represent a significant increase from the 2001 injuries.

Many of theses injuries are sprains and strains, dislocations and fractures; others require long-term medical care. The cost of winter sports injuries for persons under age 20 tops more than $11 billion for medically treated injuries in the year 2001.

As part of its Prevent Injuries America!Ò program, the Academy urges children and adults to follow these important guidelines:

Know and abide by the rules of the sport in which you are participating.

Wear appropriate protective gear (for example: goggles; helmet for sledding; helmet and padding for hockey; and several layers of clothing for warmth and protection against injuries).

Check equipment first and know how to use athletic equipment (i.e. skis and ice skates need to be in good working order).

Warm up before playing.

Avoid participation in sports when very tired or in pain.

Internet users can download additional information on winter sports injuries and more from the Academy's web site: or call the Academys Public Service line at 800-824-BONES.

An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician with extensive training in the diagnosis and non-surgical as well as surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.

The 26,047-member American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons ( or (, is a not-for-profit organization that provides education programs for orthopaedic surgeons, allied health professionals and the public. An advocate for improved patient care, the Academy is participating in the Bone and Joint Decade (, the global initiative in the years 2002-2011 to raise awareness of musculoskeletal health, stimulate research and improve peoples quality of life. President Bush has declared the years 2002-2011 National Bone and Joint Decade in support of these objectives

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