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Your Healthy Family: Snowboard jumping, start small to avoid injury

Posted: 9:53 AM, Mar 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-26 13:16:19-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – If you’re a snowboarder who loves the thrills of flying high or catching air you know it comes with some risks.  Perhaps you love the safety of keeping your board on the ground, but your snowboarding kids seek every jump they can find on the hill, and you’re occasionally talked into following them into the wild blue yonder.

Dr. Matt Javernick, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist with UCHealth Memorial, says knowing how to approach jumping can decrease injuries snowboarding.

Dr. Javernick explains: “The other injuries that can occur with snowboarders are high-energy falls.  With the snowboard, it’s not like skis where you have two feet, they’re separated, and you have poles, so (on a snowboard) it’s harder to maintain your control and balance when you leave for a jump.”

As with safe landings when jumping on skis, Dr. Javernick says, keeping injuries and high impact falls to a minimum all begins with a proper take off on a snowboard.

“When you leave for the jump that sets you up for your landing.  On a snowboard there’s much less room for error on your landing.  If you’re off balance and you land on your snowboard you can get thrown to the ground very rapidly, and that’s where we see really serious injuries both to the head, the wrists and the shoulder.”

So to master the snowboard jumps, and stay as safe a possible, Dr. Javernick says, start small and build up to the big ones.

“If you’re snowboarding and even if you’re advanced and working on your jumps, start out everyday by going to the smaller jumps, or work on the smaller parts of the terrain park.  Really focus on your takeoff and your landing. Land soft with knees flexed, hips flexed, ankles flexed and you just want to float to the ground. Focus on your take off, so that your landing is more controlled.  The more you do that on the little jumps, the more it will pay benefits as you go to the bigger jumps.”

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