The death of Sarah Burke, Olympic gold medalist in freestyle skiing, shook up a lot of people. How could this have happened to such a talented young athlete who has done this trick over and over again? The risk is always there for extreme sports athletes because they are constantly pushing the boundaries and Sarah knew it. Sarah’s coach described her as an innovator. “She was always one to stand in the face of adversity and say, ‘Why not?’” said Peter Judge, head of a national freestyle group. “Innovators don’t accept limits and that is how the limits are breached.” Sarah lived for her sport even though the costs were great … over the years Sarah broke her back, ribs and nose as well as tore knee ligaments. Eventually she paid the biggest price with her life! What frightens me about extreme sports are the people who participate without fully understanding the risks. Typically teenagers fall in this category. They often have the attitude “it won’t happen to me” so they’ll try moves they don’t have the training or skills to perform and the consequences are devastating! Last year, 5,600 Canadians were seriously hurt while playing winter sports (skiing and snowmobiling are the most dangerous). I’m not encouraging people to stop participating in these sports, in fact, I’m saying the opposite … keep yourself active all winter long BUT know your limits. Here are a few pointers for staying safe this winter:
- If you haven’t been trained for a particular “trick”, please don’t attempt it without lessons from a qualified instructor.
- When you’re tired after a day on the slopes, it’s probably best to call it a day instead of taking one more run.
- If you’ve had a beer at lunch, please keep in mind you are more susceptible to injury.
- As drivers, we’ve been taught to drive defensively (watching out for the other drivers on the road). The same applies to sports: keep an eye out for the other skiers etc. around you. You might not be the one to cause an accident but someone else might hit you.
- The best protection you have against sports injuries is to wear the right equipment including a safety helmet.
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- Tags: Beware, Brain Injuries, Exercise, Extreme Sports, General, Helmets, Safety, Sarah Burke, Sports, Teenagers