Top Sports Doc Shares 8 Common-Sense Tips to Help Prevent Injury on the Slopes

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For Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Bulczynski of the DISC Sports & Spine Center, prevention is key.

Whether you’re a first-timer, weekend warrior or elite athlete, everyone can use a refresher when approaching a new ski season.

With more than 19 million Americans predicted to ski or ride this winter, many will undoubtedly hit the slopes with little to no preparation. The result can mean injury or worse. According to Dr. Andrew Bulczynski, an orthopedic surgeon at DISC Sports & Spine Center who works regularly with Red Bull athletes, eight tips can greatly reduce the risk of ski and snowboard injury and most of them are common sense.

“Whether you’re a first-timer, weekend warrior or elite athlete, everyone can use a refresher when approaching a new ski season,” Dr. Bulczynski explains. “And, as simple as they sound, these tips can make a major difference in how much you enjoy the experience, let alone reducing your risk of getting hurt out there.”

Bulczynski’s Tips:

•Tune up your gear. Have your equipment adjusted and tuned by a pro-shop at the beginning of every season. A lot can change in a year, so take the time to make sure everything fits. Appropriate, well-fitted gear—helmet, boots, boards, skis and poles—keeps you more comfortable, helps you perform optimally, and decreases injury risk.

•Tune up your body. Strong, well-toned muscles are analogous to good shock absorbers in your vehicle. Keep them in good shape and they will reward you with a smooth ride.

•Fuel your engine. And start now! Remember the saying “you are what you eat,” and give your body proper nourishment well before you hit the slopes. A healthy diet is an important component of your fitness plan and daily performance.

•Warm it up. Proper warm-up consists of any low-impact cardio activity of your choice, for about five to 10 minutes, in order to raise your heart rate. This can be as simple as push-ups, jumping jacks, or a light jog when waiting for your friends to get ready.

•Cover it up. Our awareness of skin cancers is now higher than ever, so use sunscreen regardless of the weather, as overcast days can result in some of the worst burns. UV rays penetrate clouds and reflect back up from the snow, reaching your skin from different angles. Apply and reapply sunscreen throughout the day.

•Stay hydrated. When you feel thirsty, you are already behind. For a full day of exertion on the level of skiing or snowboarding, your body requires a substantial amount of water, with individual fluid requirements varying widely depending on fitness level, gender, body type, activity and environmental conditions. If you don’t want to think about it, try wearing it. Most outdoor retailers sell wearable water bladder backpacks that make hydration a no-brainer!

•Reach for the poles. When using ski poles, bring your hand through the loop from below upwards, then grasp the grip. This will help avoid a wrist injury, such as a fracture.

•Stretch it out. Stretching AFTER warm up and AFTER any athletic activity is more effective and decreases the likelihood of injury. Warm muscles and tendons are more supple and respond better to stretching as compared to otherwise.

About DISC Sports & Spine Center
As the official medical services provider for Red Bull’s North American athletes, DISC Sports & Spine Center (DISC) is one of America’s foremost providers of minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced arthroscopic techniques. Dr. Robert S. Bray, Jr. founded DISC with the vision of delivering an unparalleled patient experience for those suffering from sports injuries, orthopedic issues and spine disorders. DISC’s individually picked, highly specialized physicians apply both established and innovative solutions to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate their patients in a one-stop, multi-disciplinary setting. With a wide range of specialists under one roof, the result is an unmatched continuity of care with more efficiency, less stress for the patient and a zero MRSA infection rate. DISC’s ambulatory surgery centers include Diagnostic and Interventional Surgical Center and DISC Surgery Center at Newport Beach. Visit

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Garrett Bray
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