Tom Stienstra, who writes the Outdoors column for the San Francisco Chronicle, recently reported on a study of outdoor sports injuries. I was quite surprised, not so much by the fact that snowboarding appeared on the list, but more by the fact that it was far and away the leading cause of trips to the emergency room:
Twenty-six percent of all outdoor injuries reported by hospitals were snowboarders. This is stunning since snowboarding is not available across vast swaths of America, yet the sport creates 1 of 4 injuries in the outdoors.Really: 26%. Next highest on the list was sledding, at 11%. The snowboarding number is just stunning. Hiking comes next at 6%, followed by mountain biking and personal watercraft at 4% each. My decision to stick to skiing seems better all the time.
The other thing that caught my attention in the column was Stienstra's recounting of his first snowboarding lesson, which sounds much like mine:
I took my first snowboard lesson two year ago with a group of a dozen 7 to 10 year olds and fell 53 times. Over and over, it felt like I was in pro wrestling and King Kong had just hoisted me over his head and slammed me to the canvas on my back. At least I didn't land on my head. An emergency room doctor told me that snowboarders show up with more broken collar bones than anything else, along with concussions, broken wrists and, in catastrophic cases, spinal injuries.Ouch. Get outside, but play safe.