Much of Oklahoma just received its first snow for the season. While it isn’t likely to stick around long, there’s a good chance we will see more winter weather before Spring comes around.
Winter weather can be both a blessing and a curse. It can certainly be nice to get a day off work to spend with the family, but the slippery conditions also bring an increased risk of injury – especially concussion or traumatic brain injury.
Slick roads can be dangerous, and car crashes are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury in America. The best way to stay safe during slick conditions is to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. If you have to get out, it is essential you travel cautiously and watch for patches of ice.
Slippery steps and walkways are another major cause of brain injuries this time of year. To protect yourself from a concussion, be sure to take your time and watch your footing. You never know where ice may be hiding under the snow.
Of course, one of the best parts of winter weather is getting to go out and play in the snow, especially if you live in an area with hills or mountains for skiing, sledding, and other winter sports activities. Like any athletic activities, getting out on the slopes carries its own risk of brain injury.
Winter sports-related brain injuries are so common, in fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a list of tips for staying safe out in the snow:
- Wear approved, properly fitted, and well-maintained protective equipment, such as helmets.
- Know the symptoms and danger signs of a concussion, as well as the potential long-term consequences.
- If you are a parent or coach, carry the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s four-step concussion action plan with you on the ice and on the slopes. Among other things, the plan will remind you to remove any young athletes with a concussion from play, have them evaluated by a medical professional right away, inform their parents about the concussion, and keep them out of play until a medical professional says it’s all right for them to return to the slopes or hockey field.
A concussion can be caused by any bump, jolt, or hit to the head, or even a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to rattle back and forth in the skull. While the majority of concussions are minor, even the most common concussions can be temporarily debilitating and have lasting impacts.
We hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and the winter weather, but remember to stay safe and protect your brain.