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Fast Facts: Winter Sport Injury

Nothing captures the delight of snowy Wisconsin winters like outdoor activities that make the most of cold winter days—skiing, sledding and snowmobiling. Outdoor winter activities add to the quality of life for people living in Wisconsin and draw visitors from other states seeking to take advantage of our recreational amenities. Wisconsin has a total of 36 ski resorts allowing for both skiing and snowboarding. These places provide people the opportunity to get outdoor exercise during the long, cold months. In 2019 nationwide, 51 million people participated in either skiing or snowboarding throughout the United States.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center is able to analyze claims data to report on winter sport injuries that Wisconsin hospitals have seen in 2019. Of all winter sport injuries, snowmobiling is the outdoor activity that caused the greatest number of emergency room injuries. Snowmobiling caused more injuries than all other winter sports combined. Thirty-two percent of winter-sport-related emergency department visits involved those age 20 and younger.
Males had twice as many hospital emergency department visits than females. The average age of injured patients was 30, and the age group with the greatest number of hospital emergency department visits was 11-20.

To ensure the maximum amount of injury-free fun with your winter sport, follow these safety tips from State Farm:
  • For skiing and snowboarding:
    • Take lessons on how to stop, slow down and turn.
    • Always wear a certified helmet with wraparound goggles.
    • Secure loose straps or clothing.
    • Identify the appropriate trails for your skill level.
  • For snowmobiling:
    • Wear a helmet that meets the current Department of Transportation certification standards.
    • Wear appropriate cold weather gear - such as a snowmobile suit, snow bib, jackets and gloves - to cut the wind, repel water and allow ventilation.
    • Always go snowmobiling in groups and notify someone at home where the group is headed and the expected return time.
    • Always check the weather conditions before departing.
    • Always ride sober, which includes avoiding prescription medications that may affect how you ride.
    • Be cautious when crossing roadways.