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Winter sports comes with a certain level of risk. The injury rate for snowboarding is about four to six per thousand persons per day, which is around double the injury rate for alpine skiing. Injuries are more likely amongst beginners, especially those who do not take lessons with professional instructors. A quarter of all injuries occur to first-time riders and half of all injuries occur to those with less than a year of experience. Experienced riders are less likely to suffer injury, but the injuries that do occur tend to be more severe.
Two thirds of snowboarding injuries occur to the upper body and one third to the lower body. This contrasts with alpine skiing where two thirds of injuries are to the lower body. The most common types of injuries are sprains, which account for around 40% of injuries. The most common point of injury is the wrists – 40% of all snowboard injuries are to the wrists and 24% of all snowboard injuries are wrist fractures. There are around 100,000 wrist fractures worldwide among snowboarders each year. For this reason the use of wrist guards, either separate or built into gloves, is very strongly recommended. They are often compulsory in beginner’s classes and their use reduces the likelihood of wrist injury by half. In addition it is important for snow boarders to learn how to fall without stopping the fall with their hand by trying to “push” the slope away, as landing a wrist which is bent at a 90 degree angle increase the chance of it breaking. Rather, landing with the arms stretched out (like a wing) and slapping the slope with the entire arm is an effective way to break a fall.
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