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Although the snow has been here-and-then-gone-again in Michigan this year, it is still winter sports season. Skiing, snowboarding and other winter activities are fun but they can spell serious trouble, including frostbite, broken limbs and other disasters. But if the right precautions are taken, none of these have to be part of your winter fun.

  1. Always check the weather before heading outdoors. Pay attention to weather warnings and severe drops in temperature.
  2. This follows from the first suggestion; wear the right clothing. Wearing several light layers of clothing that are water and wind resistant is crucial. Also wear protective gear such as goggles or helmets and make sure that they are in working order before cruising down that white hill.
  3. Don't go out alone. Make sure you have someone with you and that someone else knows where the two (or more) of you are going and what you'll be doing. It's also good to carry a cellphone with you.
  4. Warm up before skiing or participating in other winter sports; it can prevent muscle, tendon and ligament injuries.
  5. Drink lots of water before, during and after playing winter sports to prevent dehydration.
  6. Stay in shape and condition your muscles before the season starts. Have a check-up if you are over 50 to make sure you are healthy enough to endure winter conditions.
  7. If you are in pain or tired, stop for the day.
  8. Seek shelter immediately if you feel numbness or tingling, lack of feeling or motion in your toes or fingers. This is a sign of frostbite or hypothermia.

There are an estimated 58,000 injuries caused by sledding, approximately 109,000 more caused by snowboarding and about 124,000 by skiing, but by following these winter sports tips you can enjoy the season while also staying safe. .

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