Although sledding is a common winter activity, it is not a risk-free as most people may think. A recent study by the Centre for Injury Research and Policy researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital established that between 2008 and 2017 there were 220,488 individuals in the US treated for sledding-related injuries.
Children more likely to get sledding-related injuries
According to the study, around 70% of the patients treated were children below 19 years old. Interestingly, children were seven-time more likely to receive sledding-related injury treatment in an emergency department compared to adults. The study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine found that 63% of the patients got injuries due to collisions. The collision injuries result after one hits the ground (16%), an object (47%), collides with another person (10%), or sled (7%).
Rebecca McAdams, the study’s co-author said that collision is a major concern especially because of the outcomes. McAdams is a senior research associate at the Centre of Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She explained that patients that got collision injuries were likely to have a concussion, closed head injury, or injure their head. These patients were twice more likely to be hospitalized compared to patients injured through other ways.
Head injuries the most common sledding related injuries
It is important to note that head injuries are a major concern when sledding and the head were frequently injured in both adults and children. Around 82% of children treated for sledding injuries sustained a head injury. Notably, the type of sled can also contribute to the risk of head injury with children getting injuries while riding snow tubes and disks more likely to sustain CHI or concussions compared to those riding toboggans or sleds. Most importantly, the researchers recommended putting on a helmet when sledding to minimize the risk and severity of injuries.
Interestingly, only 3% of injuries occurred as a result of a motorized vehicle such as ATV, snowmobile, or a car pulling a sled. The good news is that the number of sledding-related injuries has been decreasing in recent times.