Concussions and the Winter Games; What Do We Know?
February 14, 2014
February 14, 2014
The Olympics bring together millions of people every night to watch the day’s event unfold on Primetime. We love the heartfelt stories of comeback kids, underdogs or the new kid on the block looking to make his or her mark on history.
But we don’t always see what goes into their two to three minutes of air time; like countless falls and mishaps. After Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova cracked her helmet during a gruesome fall at the women's slopestyle final, many people were left wondering about the prevalence of concussions in these winter sports.
While many studies are being conducted on the effects of concussions and football players little is known about the long term effects of head injuries in skiing and snowboarding. We now know that receivers and cornerbacks get more concussions than any other player and that more concussions occur in week 12 of the NFL season than any other week. Long term studies like these have yet to be conducted in the field of winter sports.
Figure skater Lucinda Ruh—otherwise known as the “Queen of Spin” suffered from ongoing symptoms and pain for five years before doctors at the Elite Sports Medicine division of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center discovered that she was suffering from concussions, ongoing little concussions every single day and that was the root of her pain. These small concussions were caused by her signature spinning on the ice and stopped after she ended her skating career.
While skiing and snowboarding are already associated with concussions – Shawn White has sustained nine – new data on figure skating opens up a new round of discussion on the future of head injuries in all sports and more importantly how to prevent them.