Winter Sports, Concussions & Helmets

Nathaniel Smith, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Winter sports are much more dangerous than people think.  I snowboard and have been doing it for over nine years.  It is very important to wear safety wear, and not wearing it last weekend was not smart at all.

I went snowboarding with some friends who were skiing. My friends and I like to do tricks and stuff like that.  We were going off jumps, trying new tricks, and I landed every jump but one. The one I didn’t land wasn’t that bad of a fall.

One of the other things my friends and I like to do is ride through the trees.  For skiers like them it is a lot easier than a snowboarder like myself.  They can maneuver through trees easier than a snowboarder as well as have better control of their speed.  No matter where we go, my friends and I always go through trees.  I think I go through trees–even though I board– because I like the challenge.  

When we started to go through the trees, all was going well until I hit an icy part in the trees.  I was having trouble slowing down and moving around the trees.  I saw this small thin tree coming at me, and I couldn’t slow down or stop, so I braced myself for it.  Now that little tree was pretty sturdy and hurt a lot because I wasn’t going very slow.  I took the hit directly to my chest.

My friends and I decided to stay in the same area but ride on the actual run.  As we went up the chairlift, we were talking about racing.  Naturally I had a little bit of a disadvantage on a snowboard against skis, but I didn’t care very much.  I thought it would be fun.  

After getting off the chairlift, we decided to have a race.  I got ready and so did they; we got to the edge of the run, which was a double black diamond.  The double black diamond is the second hardest run there is, but I had gone down this run plenty of times even at a younger age.

 When we were all ready, I said “go’ and the three of us took off.  I was in front and carved back and forth twice on my edge.  After that all I remember is being next to the ski patrol who were cleaning up my face.  Apparently 15 minutes had gone by since we started the race and I didn’t remember any of it.  

I asked what happened and my friend told me I caught my front side edge which threw me forward, causing me to hit my face on the groomed snow.  The medics said I had a small concussion and some scrapes, but I was very lucky that it wasn’t worse and that I didn’t have bleeding in my brain or any other possible problems.  

From now on I will be wearing my helmet.  Before, I would only wear my helmet when I was doing bigger jumps or rails.  This shows that no matter how many times I ride a run or how experienced I am at it, it doesn’t matter.  It only takes one miscue (or patch of ice) for something bad like this (or even worse) to happen.