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Ski Injury Spotlight: Understanding Concussions & Head Injuries

Posted in Preventative Tips, Winter Sports Injuries, Ski Injuries

Ski Injury Spotlight: Understanding Concussions & Head Injuries

A ski head injury – or in severe cases a concussion – is a risk even the most seasoned skier should try to prevent when heading to the ski slopes.

A head injury can be the most life threatening injury experienced on the slopes. At best, a skier may experience a bump on their head but in more severe cases, a concussion may occur.

What is a head a concussion?

A concussion is a generic term for a brain injury sustained after a blow to the head and or neck. The intensity and presentation in concussions vary between each individual, and need to be taken very seriously.

What are the signs & symptoms of a concussion?

A multitude of symptoms can appear after a contact injury to the head. They fall into 4 categories:

PHYSICAL PROBLEMS:  This includes neck pain, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, balance difficulties, loss of consciousness

COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT:  Slower reaction times, confusion, difficulty concentrating, amnesia (memory loss), feeling ‘foggy’, pressure into head.

BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES:  Feelings of not being ‘yourself’, irritability, nervousness, anxiousness, unusually emotional

SLEEP DISTURBANCES:  Drowsiness, difficulties falling asleep, sleeping more or less than usual, among others.

If you are experiencing one or many of these symptom, a concussion should be suspected. 

What can you do if you suspect a concussion?

If you have experienced a head injury on the ski slopes and suspect a concussion, it is crucial to your healing process to give yourself both physical and mental (cognitive) rest.

This means no training, exercises, weight lifting, or playing. Be aware of your exertion level when performing activities of daily living, such as chores, driving, cooking/cleaning.

Cognitive rest refers to activities that require attention and concentration, which includes scholastic work, video games, text message, or excessive screen time. These activities may exacerbate symptoms and may possibly delay recovery.

How can you prevent a concussion on the ski hill?

  • Wear a helmet that has been fitted to your head – at all times, even on the bunny hills. 
  • Avoid being distracted on the ski hill – be aware of your surroundings and stay safe.
  • Avoid listening to music or wearing headphones.
  • Avoid back country/unmarked trails with trees as obstacles. Stay on marked trails with open tracks and minimal obstacles. such as trees.
  • Wear contacts or glasses and eye protection. If you cannot see because of the blinding snow reflecting light, or because you do not have on prescription lenses, falls risk increases as well as contact with other skiers.

Do You Suspect You Have a Concussion?

Give us a call immediately. Our physiotherapists have the tools and expertise to assess and properly treat concussion symptoms, and help you to slowly and safely return to your sport of interest

Contact Us Today