Winter sports are known for being some of the most invigorating, intense, and enjoyable activities to which people participate. They are also, however, extremely dangerous. According to data collected by the Mayo Clinic, winter sports account for around nine percent of all spinal cord injuries suffered in the United States each year. That’s a significant amount. Here is what you need to know about winter sports and spinal cord trauma.
Spinal Trauma and Head Injuries are On the Rise
Of the 10 million people taking part in winter activities each year, nearly 600,000 are injured, and this is a figure that keeps growing. This is due, many experts believe, to the rise in the popularity of helmets for safety.
While this may sound contradictory, the simple fact is that research shows that the more safety equipment people utilize, the more likely they are to take risks, feeling they are safe. The result of this perception of safety is that skies, snowboarders, and other winter sports participants are going faster and performing more extreme stunts than ever before.
Common Winter Sports Injuries
One of the most common of winter-related injuries is whiplash, which results from a sudden stop which can cause hyperextension of the neck. While generally not as severe as other neck and spinal injuries, the true extent of whiplash injuries may not be apparent immediately. It may take days or weeks for the full effects to be felt. Treatments for whiplash include steroids, or conservative treatments, such as bed rest.
Cervical Spinal Injuries
The cervical spinal cord is the uppermost part of the spine, where the spinal cord connects with the brain. Injuries to this part of the body can be devastating and can lead to total or partial paralysis. These injuries are commonly caused by falling on the head or upper back and may occur when skiing, snowboarding, or even skating in the winter. In fact, reports seem to indicate that serious accidents in skiing and snowboarding are almost pre-destined for cervical vertebrae injuries.
Anterior Spinal Cord Syndrome
Anterior cord syndrome refers to any injury to the front of the spinal cord, which in turn results in damage to the motor and sensory pathways in the spine. While those who sustain this type of injury may retain some sensation, they will likely struggle with movement.
Central Spinal Cord Syndrome
Central cord syndrome is any injury to the center of the spinal cord, and often damages nerves that carry the signals from the brain to the spinal cord. Those who suffer this type of injury experience loss of fine motor skills, potential paralysis of the arms, and usually partial impairment in the legs. Some of those who experience this syndrome may also suffer loss of bowel or bladder control and sexual function.
Brown-Sequard syndrome refers to damage to one side of the spinal cord. Usually, the injury is more pronounced on one side of the body. It may become impossible, for instance, to move the left side of the body, while the right side retains all movements.
Consult a Personal Injury Attorney at the Shapiro Law Group
If you suffer a spinal cord injury this winter, after seeking the proper medical care, consulting a Personal Injury Attorney at the Shapiro Law Group to help you sort through the plethora of factors that need review should be your next step. In addition to medical expenses, you may be entitled to compensation for lost income and the pain and suffering you have had to endure. Call today at (339) 309-1188 for a free consultation.