Snowboarding continues to increase in popularity. In 2010, approximately 8.2 million Americans participated in snowboarding. With that increasing participation comes higher rates of snowboarding injuries.
It is hard to clearly state whether skiing is safer or riskier than snowboarding because they present risks for different injuries. Wrist injuries, such as distal radius fractures, carpal fractures, and sprains, are the most common injuries among snowboarders. Overall, wrist injuries, shoulder soft tissue injuries, ankle injuries, concussions, and clavicle fractures are seen more often in snowboarders than in skiers.
Studies have found that young, female, and inexperienced snowboarders have the highest rate of injuries. Most snowboarding injuries result from jumping and losing control and the subsequent impact with the snow.
Tips to decrease snowboarding injuries
While it is impossible to prevent every snowboarding injury, there are some steps you can take to decrease your risk the next time you hit the slopes.
Use caution with jumping and performing tricks.
Always work up to some of the jumps and turns that some of the more advanced snowboarders perform. Work with more skilled snowboarders, and practice these moves in safer conditions.
Always wear a helmet.
These have fortunately become standard today, but every snowboarder should wear a helmet to decrease his or her risk of suffering a head injury.
Stay within the marked boundaries on the slopes.
The conditions outside of the marked boundaries are usually unsafe due to rocks, trees and other terrain. Plus, if you crash in these areas, people might not see you, and rescue personnel might have a hard time finding you.
Snowboard with other people.
If you do fall, your friends can help you get on your feet. If you suffer a serious injury, they can alert medical providers quickly.