Denise Johnson: We think of sledding as fun, not dangerous - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

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Denise Johnson: We think of sledding as fun, not dangerous


A snow day can be a rare fun day in the Tri-State.

We get bundled up to head out and enjoy the white fluffy stuff. No one gives it a second thought about getting hurt. My kids and I used to sled ride together-- I never thought about what could happen. 

But 34,000 children are treated in emergency rooms annually for sledding-related injuries.(according to Health Day)

The position of the child or smaller person on the sled has a lot to do with the type of injury they may suffer. (Says Empowering Programs)

Children under 5 sustain the most severe injuries to the head, neck, face and abdomen. Older children and teens can be affected by the position on the sled as well as the rough terrain. Older riders often suffer injuries to their arms, legs and spine, putting them at risk for spinal cord injuries. 

This hit close to home for my family over the weekend, when my 14-year-old niece was seriously injured. Chloe and her friends went sled riding for the first time in her new neighborhood. 

She and her friend hopped on the same sled and went down the hill for the first time. They hit a snow-covered ditch they didn’t know was there. The force of the impact and weight of her friend thrust forward on Chloe, breaking something in her back. She was in horrible pain and couldn’t move.

She was transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she underwent an MRI and then surgery, 12 hours after the accident. During the four-hour surgery, doctors placed three screws, two rods and a bone graph to repair the “L2” vertebra in her back. It is among the largest bones in the spinal column. The MRI showed bone fragments pushing into her spine. 

Chloe will be in a back brace for the next 3-6 months, which for a 14-year old-active girl will feel like eternity. I guess it could have been worse, so we will count our blessings.

Keep in mind that you should be familiar with the areas where you are sled riding, avoid areas with a lot of trees, ride feet first and ride one person at a time on the sled.



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