If we pay attention to the professional competition level, the data and the prevention measures shouldn’t change very much, though we must take into account the peculiarities of the skiing competitions.
We have to take into account that the current rules and regulations related to equipment, installations, racing conditions… to a very large extent have been conditioned by the goal to improve safety of different winter sports disciplines.
For instance, the technical improvements of the safety bindings, the helmets… are closely related to the observation of the accidents and injuries produced as a result of practicing these sports. Due to the improvements in equipment, the types of most common injuries have changed over time:
- years ago, the tibia fracture was a typical and relatively frequent skiing injury. The changes in the type of skiing boots and the apparition of safety bindings caused it to be displaced by the knee ligament injuries...
- the typical woolly hat, still in use a few years ago, was substituted by a helmet...
The competition stadiums, which some decades ago didn’t even exist, nowadays form part of a ski resort as specialized installations with exceptional safety measures, specifically determined by the regulations...
Nowadays, the peculiarities of winter sports at competition level are being studied in more detail and FIS is carrying out a provisional study to analyse the accidents and injuries produced in the competitors. At the moment this investigation is counting on the participation of a limited number of federations. Its goal is to gather the information about accidents and injuries that occurred not only during the competitions, but also in course of training, and analyse the characteristics of the incident, its causes, and its consequences... the final objective will evidently amount to suggesting measures that could make our sports safer.
At any rate, while we expect that the investigations in course may give us new clues as to the injury prevention, it is necessary to insist on well-known and basic requirements:
- a good physical condition is essential, it is of utmost importance to have followed a general physical preparation programme, and a specific programme which enables you to face competition with the guarantee of maximum safety
- a thorough warming prevents injuries and greatly improves the performance, the increase in muscular temperature improves coordination while we psychologically prepare ourselves for the competition or a specific training session
- correct hydration and nutrition are indispensable so as to avoid deficiencies or excesses, and allow us to face the challenges of training or competition and ensure excellent performance and a lesser risk of injury
- it is necessary to take care of the equipment, know its characteristics and maintain it in perfect conditions; our comfort and our safety largely depend on it. At the same time, it contributes to improving our results
- lastly, it is necessary to respect the rules of conduct*, be it at a stadium or in any other part of the resort, we must remember that the human factor is determining in the majority of accidents
These rules have been approved by the International Ski Federation and are recognized all over the world as authentic “traffic rules” for the slopes:
This article was written in collaboration with Gerard Escoda Alegret