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On-Mountain Coverage of Competitive Skiing and Snowboarding Events

Gammons, Matthew MD1,2; Boynton, Melbourne MD1; Russell, James MD2; Wilkens, Kyle MSPA-C, L-ATC3

Current Sports Medicine Reports: May-June 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 3 - p 140-146
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31821a9fd5
Sideline and Event Management

Skiing and snowboarding are popular sports worldwide both for competitive and recreational participants. Medical coverage of the competitive events can be challenging because of the wide variety of competition styles and venues. Skiing and snowboarding have similar overall rates of injury, with lower extremity injuries more prevalent in skiing and upper extremity injuries in snowboarding. Providers of medical coverage for these events usually have to be skilled in skiing and/or snowboarding to reach injured athletes or sometimes even to get to the event venue. Care of even routine injuries can be challenging because of environmental conditions and terrain. Catastrophic injuries fortunately are rare and are most commonly related to head trauma. Spine injuries and thoracoabdominal trauma also are seen. Because remote mountainous locations are common, advance planning for the treatment of all injuries, particularly serious or catastrophic, is paramount. Common nonorthopedic conditions include altitude sickness, cold-related conditions, and other travel-related illnesses, such as jet lag and food-borne illness.

1Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic, Rutland, VT; 2Killington Medical Clinic, Killington, VT; 3USSA, Park City, UT

Address for correspondence: Matthew Gammons, MD, Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic/Killington Medical Clinic, 3 Albert Cree Drive, Rutland, VT 05701 (E-mail:

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine