Wicked Winter Wonderland

Ice skating at a local rink, skiing trails or down a hill, taking a walk while just a hint of snow falls in the early evening.  These are moments to look forward to in winter.

Capturing a concussion after attempting an upright spin on silver blades, dislocating a collarbone amidst gravity and skis, obtaining a broken bone on the hard, cold sidewalk.  These are events we dread as winter turns wicked.

How does one find the balance betwixt enjoyment and safety in the winter months?

While such is no simple task, we certainly do not have to wrap ourselves in bubble wrap, strap on padded hip protectors or submissively decide to stay indoors with board games and hot cocoa for 3 months. We need to think smart.

Do not go out for fun amidst high winds or icy conditions – you will not enjoy yourself anyway. If you do so, you are essentially arguing with Mother Nature and she will win. Do go out for skating or skiing in favorable conditions in proper attire and appropriate mindset. This means coats, hats, mittens, boots, and possibly, a helmet.

Head injuries in winter are not uncommon and can be classified as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Recently, a couple of hospitals in the Twin Cities promoted the use of helmets for Winter Sports by giving out free helmets at local parks in Minneapolis in order to promote safety.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, “severe head trauma accounts for about 15 percent of all skiing- and snowboarding-related injuries, but is the most frequent cause of death and severe disability (2012).”

Head injuries, hip fractures and broken bones also may result from winter activities or by simply trying to get from one place to another. Black ice, slippery sidewalks covered with snow and floor tiles wet with melted slush are common yet hidden sources of falls on a winter. Walk – don’t run, carefully and keep your sidewalks and walkways free of ice, snow or water.

Enjoy Wisconsin’s Winter Wonderlands this season – with care!

Contributed by Julie Krizan, Health Care Management Program Chair, Globe University – Wausau