Winter cold and snow compel many people to stay indoors. But others thrive on the chance to play winter sports that are perfectly suited to the weather.

snowboarder Wearing a helmet while snowboarding can protect you from serious head injuries.
See
Concussion Causes and Risk Factors

If you enjoy winter activities, brush up on these injury hazards for each sport—and what you can do to prevent them.

See 3 Essential Hamstring Stretches to Prevent Injury

5 important tips for any winter activity

For starters, here are some general tips you can follow to be safe outside during any winter activity:

  1. Wear multiple, breathable layers that can insulate your body and be removed as needed.
  2. Warm up cold muscles with some light exercise or stretching.
  3. Stay hydrated by taking frequent water breaks.
  4. Don't push yourself during "one last run" when you're already tired. This is when accidents can easily happen.
  5. If you do get injured, follow the P.R.I.C.E. recovery protocol.

See 5 Snow Shoveling Tips to Help Prevent an Injury

Skiing and snowboarding

Common injuries:

Injury prevention tips:

  • Wear goggles and a helmet for skiing and snowboarding.
  • Test the bindings to make sure they're properly fitted before your first run.
  • Know your abilities and stick to the trails that are suited for them.

Sledding

Common injuries:

  • Various head and limb injuries can result from running into trees or rocks, including concussions.
  • Collision injuries can occur at the bottom of the hill.
  • Injuries can be caused by hazards on unsafe sledding runs near streets, parking lots, or ponds.

See Concussion Causes and Risk Factors

Injury prevention tips:

  • Avoid sledding face-first on your stomach. Instead, sit in a forward-facing position.
  • Use only designated sledding hills that are free from obstacles and have enough space at the bottom of the hill.
  • Use sleds with runners and a steering mechanism.
  • Children younger than 12 should not sled without supervision from adults.
  • Children younger than 12 should also wear a helmet.

See Helping Kids Return to Physical Activity After Concussion

Hockey

Common injuries:

Injury prevention tips:

  • Wear all the proper protective equipment when playing or practicing.
  • Make sure rules are enforced to eliminate dangerous moves such as checking from behind or high-sticking.
  • New players should master basic skating skills first, and practice on hockey skates rather than figure skates.

With a few precautions, you can increase your odds of staying safe and injury-free throughout the winter.

Learn more

5 Ways to Gear Up for Winter Running

ACL Injury Prevention