Ten Resolutions for an Injury-Free Holiday Season and New Year

The National Athletic Trainers' Association Recommends How to Play it Safe During Indoor/Outdoor Fun with Family, Friends

DALLAS (Dec. 12, 2002) - Before bundling up for a family game of tackle football in the front yard, playing pick-up ice hockey with friends, or even taking in a round of golf in cooler weather conditions, the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) wants to make sure those of all ages play it safe this holiday season - indoors or out. More than 10,000 people receive treatment in the nation's emergency departments each day for injuries sustained in sports, recreation and exercise activities, according to The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Injury Research Agenda. "While common, it's so tragic to see injuries happen over the holidays, particularly during a harmless outdoor family football game, on the slopes or even upstairs playing indoor hockey or wrestling with your big brother," said NATA President Julie Max, Med, ATC. "When something like this happens, it certainly dampens holiday spirits. We want people to be safe and understand that when climates change, they need to take extra precaution in knowing their physical limitations outdoors, be aware of any health condition that could pose a threat, and be cognizant of the few pointers that could prevent a broken arm or leg, knee injury or other mishap from occurring." To prevent injuries when gathering with friends and family for skiing, skating, snowboarding or any other physical activities inside or out this holiday season, the NATA offers 10 resolutions that will ensure everyone plays smart, has fun and stays safe:

  1. Always have an emergency plan that includes access to a phone and first aid kit.
  2. Stretch! Conditioning your body, particularly in the colder weather, is imperative. Take additional prep time to warm up your body before recreation. Also, make sure you specifically condition for a designated activity to avoid putting yourself at risk for an injury. Take extra precaution if encountering a new activity.
  3. Wear a mouth guard and protective headgear when playing contact sports.
  4. Participate at your skill level in the various activities. For example, if you are a first-time skier, stick to the beginner slopes to ensure safety.
  5. See your physician for a physical examination before starting a new exercise program, or New Year's resolution involving a change in your workout routine.
  6. Drink 7-10 oz. of water or sport drink every 10-20 minutes when exercising, which is important throughout the year.
  7. Use proper and well-fitted equipment (including shoes) when playing sports.
  8. Use RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) should a new injury occur. Sustain good eating habits and proper nutrition.
  9. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other harmful drugs for a healthier body and lifestyle.

Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are medical professionals who specialize in the prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and illnesses that occur to athletes and the physically active. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports the more than 30,000 members of the athletic training profession through education and research. www.nata.org.

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