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VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – Saturday kicked off National Safety Awareness Week, so CBS4 wanted to talk to a doctor who specializes in skiing and snowboarding injuries.
With less snow there are typically more injuries on the slopes. Dr. Terrell Joseph at Vail Summit Orthopedics says injuries differ depending on what people have strapped to their feet.
It’s a non-contact sport, but don’t tell that to David Harrison, who recently broke his collarbone snowboarding.
“I’ve had a couple other friends that this has happened to them earlier, so it’s a pretty common injury, I guess, especially with it being as icy as it is right now,” Harrison said.
Harrison is electing surgery and will get a metal rod placed in his bone.
“No brainer; I’ll get some titanium in me, but that’s not so bad,” he said.
Joseph says head injuries, and ones around the shoulder, are even between skiers and snowboarders. But when it comes to the lower body, the two ways to ride produce drastically different injuries.
“With snowboarding it’s the wrists, and very much in beginners,” Joseph said.
Joseph says a quarter of all wrist fractures seen in emergency rooms are from within the first three days of snowboarding.
“Wearing wrist guards with learning to snowboard. It’s like a small car accident learning to snowboard for the first three days,” he said.
Joseph says leg and knee injuries are most likely for skiers.
“We do see very commonly a broken tibia or a broken leg bone from the top of the boot,” he said. “If your tibia survives and doesn’t break, then knee injuries; much more knee injuries from skiing.”
An NCAA study says women in non-contact sports are four times more likely to get a knee injury. Joseph says his office see’s about the same number. But if for those who want to stay out of his office, there’ only one way to prevent an injury — know the surroundings.
“Fifty percent of surgical orthopedic injuries that we see, either the patient describes going out of control, or someone else was out of control and then collided with them,” Joseph said.