nowboarding is a winter sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow while standing on a board attached to a rider's feet, using a special boot set onto a mounted binding. The development of snowboarding was inspired by skateboarding, sledding, surfing and skiing.
HISTORY OF SNOWBOARDING. In 1964 a young surf freak called Sherman Poppen was dreaming about surfing the magic winter landscape of the Rockies. As a consequence, he built a surfboard for the snow. His first prototype was an about 1,20 m long plastic plank: two kids' skis bolted together.
Like some other winter sports, snowboarding 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 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. This is the method used by practitioners of judo and other martial arts to break a fall when they are thrown against the floor by a training partner.
The risk of head injury is two to six times greater for snowboarders than for skiers and injuries follow the pattern of being rarer, but more severe, with experienced riders. Head injuries can occur both as a consequence of a collision and when failing to carry out a heel-side turn. The latter can result in the rider landing on his or her back and slamming the back of his or her head onto the ground, resulting in an occipital head injury. For this reason, helmets are widely recommended. Protective eyewear is also recommended as eye injury can be caused by impact and snow blindness can be a result of exposure to strong ultra-violet light in snow-covered areas. The wearing of ultra-violet-absorbing goggles is recommended even on hazy or cloudy days as ultra-violet light can penetrate clouds.
Unlike ski bindings, snowboard bindings are not designed to release automatically in a fall. The mechanical support provided by the feet being locked to the board has the effect of reducing the likelihood of knee injury – 15% of snowboard injuries are to the knee, compared with 45% of all skiing injuries. Such injuries are typically to the knee ligaments, bone fractures are rare. Fractures to the lower leg are also rare but 20% of injuries are to the foot and ankle. Fractures of the talus bone are rare in other sports but account for 2% of snowboard injuries – a lateral process talus fracture is sometimes called "snowboarder's ankle" by medical staff. This particular injury results in persistent lateral pain in the affected ankle yet is difficult to spot in a plain X-ray image. It may be misdiagnosed as just a sprain, with possibly serious consequences as not treating the fracture can result in serious long-term damage to the ankle. The use of portable ultrasound for mountainside diagnostics has been reviewed and appears to be a plausible tool for diagnosing some of the common injuries associated with the sport.
Four to eight percent of snowboarding injuries take place while the person is waiting in ski-lift lines or entering and exiting ski lifts. Snowboarders push themselves forward with a free foot while in the ski-lift line, leaving the other foot (usually that of the lead leg) locked on the board at a 9–27 degree angle, placing a large torque force on this leg and predisposing the person to knee injury if a fall occurs. Snowboard binding rotating devices are designed to minimize the torque force, Quick Stance being the first developed in 1995. They allow snowboarders to turn the locked foot straight into the direction of the tip of the snowboard without removing the boot from the boot binding.
Avalanches are a clear danger when on snowy mountain slopes. It is best to learn the different kinds of avalanches, how to prevent causing one and how to react when one is going to happen. Also when going out onto the snow, all who practice an activity with increased chances of injury should have a basic First Aid knowledge and know how to deal with injuries that may occur.
Snowboarding boots should be well-fitted, with toes snug in the end of the boot when standing upright and slightly away from the end when in the snowboarding position. Padding or "armor" is recommended on other body parts such as hips, knees, spine, and shoulders. To further help avoid injury to body parts, especially knees, it is recommended to use the right technique. To acquire the right technique, one should be taught by a qualified instructor. Also, when snowboarding alone, precaution should be taken to avoid tree wells, a particularly dangerous area of loose snow that may form at the base of trees.
Some care is also required when waxing a board as fluorocarbon waxes emit toxic fumes when overheated. Waxing is best performed in a ventilated area with care being taken to use the wax at the correct temperature – the wax should be melted but not smoking or smoldering.
In a study conducted to examine the types of snowboarding injuries and changes in injury patterns over time, data was collected on injured snowboarders and skiers in a base-lodge clinic of a ski resort in Vermont over 18 seasons (1988–2006) and included extensive information about injury patterns, demographics, and experience. In conclusion of the study, the highest rate of injury was among young, inexperienced, female snowboarders. Injury rates in snowboarders have fluctuated over time but still remain higher than skiers. No evidence was found that those who spend more time in terrain parks are over represented in the injury population.
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