Trekking down the slopes can be an enjoyable activity and trigger an adrenaline rush that only come from the downhill speed. When it comes to skiing, the individual should have the confidence to maneuver the body to avoid injuries and make it down the hill safely. Even those who have the best training, accidents can still make it down the hill safely. During a skiing accident, if the individual strikes his/her head at high speeds, there is a risk for brain injuries.
What are the possible causes?
When skiing downhill, the speeds can sometimes reach up to 80 mph or even faster, depending on the slope. If the individual loses control of the skis or balance, the outcome can be disastrous. The individual can land on his/her head or topple down the remaining hill while striking the head on the ground repeatedly. In some cases, the individual can also lose control and even strike an object such as a pole, tree or another skier.
The blunt force from a direct hit at the speed higher than 20 mph even with a helmet has the potential to cause brain injury. Even if the individual is on a practice slope with or without a helmet, a fall onto the ice can still cause a head injury.
Types of brain injury
The helmet used can provide protection from some of the blunt force of impact. Exteriorly, visible scratches, welts, cuts and bruising are usually present. Some of the serious forms of brain injuries include contusions, intraparenchymal hemorrhages, subdural and epidural hematoma, concussions and skull fractures.
Skull fractures occur once the bones of the skull break or crack. This leaves the brain prone to injury and not properly protected. As for intraparenchymal hemorrhages, it involves bleeding and bruising of the brain and the neighboring tissue. This can occur from a blunt force or direct blow to the head. This injury is considered the most severe and can cause the brain to move or bounce.
Subdural hematomas occur when blood accumulates between the covering of the brain and its surface. This can occur in a gradual manner even if the individual feels better after a skiing accident. As for epidural hematomas, there is bleeding within the head which results from a skull fracture. The blood gathers and a hematoma forms which results to the build-up pressure within the brain. Aside from the brain injury, there is significant damage to the neck and spinal cord which results to irreversible damage. A concussion is the least serious of most brain injuries which does not cause visible damage or bruising to the brain area.
Signs and symptoms
When the individual feels fine after sustaining a skiing accident, it does not mean that he/she has not suffered from internal injuries. The brain injuries that occur from a skiing accident are more serious and even deadly in some cases. Due to this, there is a need to seek medical help right away even if the individual feels fine.
Remember that time is vital with any form of brain injury. If medical care is delayed, the more damage the brain sustains. Some of the signs of serious injury include loss of consciousness, difficulty walking or talking as well as severe headache, loss of memory, seizures, poor coordination, irrational behavior and paralysis. It may or may not be evident to end up with bruising on the face or neck, bump on the head, drainage of clear fluid from the eyes or nose and black or blue eyes.
Most skiing accidents can result to a concussion that can heal after resting for a few hours or days after the accident. A severe head injury can lead to lasting damage to the brain that can result to a vegetative state, paralysis, loss of memory, paralysis, inability to eat or breathe, speech problems, coma or even death.
Accidents can be prevented by ensuring that proper gear is used before engaging in the activity such as the helmet, goggles, boots, pads and skis. It is vital to check the weather to ensure that the weather conditions are clear to prevent visual disturbances. In addition, also check the slopes if the individual is unfamiliar with them.