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Exploring the natural world

Health Risks Of Adventure Sports

The popularity and appeal of adventure sports or extreme sports is on the rise, worldwide. Kayaking, skiing, rock climbing, cliff diving, trebuchet, mountaineering, snowboarding, ski boarding (snowblading),water rafting, base jumping, downhill mountain biking, bungee jumping are alluring the teenagers and  the young adults. They crave for the ‘adrenaline rush’ and excitement derived from such sports and do not hesitate to jeopardize their lives by indulging in adventure sports.

These sports are associated with high causalities or fatalities and risk is intricately woven into the very element of extreme sports. Despite having claimed thousands of young lives, they continue to attract individuals, who are drawn to such sports like powerful magnets.

Snow sports are obviously hot during the winter season, and are thus the charm of places with long winters like Scotland, Canada, Russia etc. Skiing dangers abound. One strange danger is the ‘tree-well’ deaths or NARSID, snow immersion deaths that are not related to avalanche, occurs when the victim falls in the deep pitted area near a snow-laden tree are common. When the victim tries to rise or extricate it results in more deposition of snow over them and they die from hypothermia and asphyxia.

Inside a tree well it is difficult for someone to be able to see or hear you, so the chances of rescue are very remote. Falls and collision with static objects like trees or other persons coming in the way account for a lot of fatalities and wearing a helmet may prevent this to a large extent.

One third of ski injuries involve the knee joint, affecting either the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament or the meniscus. There may be ligament tears or lower leg fractures that may require knee replacement surgery. Other common sites of injury are the head or the skull, thumb, and shoulder joint.

Snowboarding has an altogether different injury profile. Here, upper limb fractures predominate due to falls with outstretched hands. According to Dr. Gorger, at Deadwood Regional Hospital, broken collar bones, dislocated shoulders, and wrist fractures are quite common in snowboarding. The incidence is quite high in children and novice boarders due to not wearing protective gear such as wrist guards that protect the person from wrist injury.

In this regards I would like cite my own example- last winter I visited my cousin in Scotland who is sports savvy. She took me along with her for snowboarding and taught me for the first time; she herself was self-taught. I ended up fracturing the talus bone of my ankle, and injury commonly known as “snowboarder’s ankle”. I learned an important lesson, not to gamble with your safety and health, and seek professional training or instruction before going for adventure sports.

Thrill Seekers 

The thrill seekers who are fanatic about the stimulation and boost they get from such sports are not just daredevils, but very often they are our best scientists, surgeons, CEO’s, inventors and explorers. For example Dr. Kenneth Kalmer, a New York based renowned surgeon of international acclaim, and one of the finest surgeons of America, is a high altitude mountaineer. He is well aware of the health risks associated with it, but feels that it makes the society more vibrant and progressive. He says that the predisposition to take risk is not new; it is hardwired into our core, our evolutionary makeup since times immemorial. Man took risks in order to survive.

He feels that sportsmen linked to adventure sports are adroit and highly skilled, trained athletes, who are safety conscious, disciplined and can take care of themselves in high risk zones. He feels if adventure sports are practised in the right way with all the safety measures they significantly contribute in the development of our evolving and diverse society. But on the other hand, in an attempt to seek name and fame, perhaps to attract the attention of media, too many of them neglect the safety protocols, inviting troubles.

Some Other Problems

Nowadays, to fulfill the innate need of exhilaration, some people resort to other activities, having potentially greater social, personal and economic risks than adventure sports. For example, they may turn to addictions like gambling, sex, drinking, smoking or taking narcotics, to get the ‘high’ or surge of adrenaline, the same feeling or euphoria that they get from adventure sports due adrenaline surge.

Sitting for long hours to play video games or computer games is a leading cause of postural problems, obesity and other lifestyle diseases, but if one participates in such sports they will never fall prey to such lifestyle disorders. Challenging outdoor activities, even adventure sports are better outlets than these addictions according to Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk , who is linked with Canadian Heart Foundation. So, if practised in a proper way with all the safety protocols adventure sports are actually a boon in disguise. So, if you follow your sport’s guidelines and are trained, the risks are greatly reduced.

Author: Hi! I’m Rit, a causal writer at nutrition website FreshBeetle. I am fond of exploring every possible aspect in life that involved improving your health. I’ll be happy to see you from time to time on our site – FreshBeetle. ;)

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