You hear the crackle of the soft snow; you feel the crispness of the wind on your face; you tingle with the warmth of the sun on your back; you are exhilarated with the speed and movement. It’s estimated that more than five million Americans will experience the joy and freedom of skiing this year. Unfortunately though, it is also estimated that 600,000 will experience injuries.
The next question then is, “Is skiing an unsafe sport?” The answer is “no”-it is no more unsafe than most sports. Certainly, statisticians and insurance actuaries can issue a list of sports and rank them in order of danger, but this is based on frequency of injury rather than inherent qualities of the sports. According to skiing authorities, about 50% of the injuries are equipment related, while the other 50% are due to poor physical conditioning and negligence. That leaves very little to blame on the sport itself.
Physical conditioning is important because the energy-absorption ability of the bone is minimal. The skier’s primary defense against injury is muscular conditioning. Skiing not only requires specialized attention to knee and leg exercises, but also a general good tone of the body. It is the type of sport that requires endurance and structural maneuverability. In terms of equipment, remember that it should be of high quality construction, proper fitting and well maintained.
The American Chiropractic Association also reports that ski poles have been the basis for many shoulder and thumb dislocations, and for muscle problems in the arms and back. Without pull-away straps, a pole caught in a shrub exerts a tremendous shock on the limb as the body moves forward with speed.
The skier must be properly dressed for the activity-not become chilled or overheated. Too much or too little clothes can both contribute to colds and other respiratory problems. Properly-designed ski clothes let you take simple falls without getting wet or hurt. Ski clothes should have a high
coefficient of friction, which slows the speed of the skier when he comes into contact with the snow.
Since chiropractic is a health discipline which places particular emphasis on the structural integrity of the body, many skiers visit their doctors of chiropractic frequently-utilizing the procedure as a preventive, as well as a curative measure.