January is Winter Sports TBI Awareness Month

Categories: Personal Injury

January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. At Ernst Law Group, we want to give you tips on how you can protect yourself against a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while participating in winter sports. If you’ve already suffered a TBI while involved in a winter sport, a San Luis Obispo brain injury attorney can determine if you’re entitled to seek compensation through a legal claim.

What are the most dangerous winter sports?

California attracts many adventure seekers in the winter, yet many winter sports are also hazardous. The following snowy activities are among the state’s most dangerous:

  • Downhill skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Ice skating
  • Sledding
  • Snow tubing
  • Snow biking
  • Ice climbing
  • Ice hockey
  • Snowmobiling

These sports all pose a significant risk of TBIs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 586 TBI-related hospitalizations and 190 TBI-related fatalities each day. Brain injuries can occur when an external force suddenly impacts your brain and can result in damage to the way your brain functions, leading to devastating and long-term physical and financial difficulties.

What types of TBIs can you suffer in a winter sports accident?

Winter sports in California often include high-risk and high-speed maneuvers and slippery surfaces, which increase the likelihood of accidents. There are many types of TBIs you can suffer while participating in winter sports. The most common of these brain injuries include:

  • Concussions: Experiencing a direct blow to the head causes your brain to strike your skull
  • Contusions: Bruises or bleeding on your brain
  • Brain hemorrhages: Consist of bleeding on the surface of your brain
  • Intracranial hematomas: Collections of blood in or around your brain
  • Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI): Occur when your brain is twisted or shaken
  • Penetrating injuries: Occur when an object penetrates your skull and brain

What are the symptoms of a TBI?

You may not be aware that you’ve suffered a TBI during your winter activity. As such, you should seek immediate medical attention after a sporting accident involving contact with your head. In some cases, it may take days or even weeks for TBI symptoms to manifest, which often include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Feeling groggy or sluggish
  • Memory loss
  • Lightheadedness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Lack of coordination
  • Facial bruising or distortions

How can you protect yourself from TBIs while participating in winter sports?

National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month is an ideal time to review some safety tips on how to protect yourself from TBIs while participating in winter sports. While you can’t prevent all accidents, you can lessen your risk of injury while having winter fun. Here are things you can do to protect your head and decrease your chances of causing a TBI:

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet.
  • Wear a Q-collar.
  • Implement rules banning hits to the head in contact sports.
  • Take lessons prior to participating in winter sports.
  • Take breaks when you get tired.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Focus on your technique.
  • Check the weather conditions before beginning your activity.
  • Stay on designated trails.
  • Avoid participating in winter sports while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Know the signs of a TBI.

What are your rights if you’re injured in a winter sport?

If you’ve sustained a brain injury while participating in a winter sport, you may be entitled to seek monetary compensation for your injuries. Many California winter sports destinations require you to sign a waiver protecting the activity provider from liability in case of an accident. However, if your accident was caused by poor maintenance, inadequate oversight, or other factors out of your control, you can potentially hold the negligent party responsible for your damages.

In California, you can file a legal claim against a party if you can prove they’re at fault for the accident and your resulting brain injuries. To prevail in a personal injury case, you must establish the activity provider or another party was negligent. Series 400 of the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) explains what you must prove to establish a legal claim:

  • That the other party was negligent
  • That you were harmed
  • That the other party’s negligence was a significant factor in causing your injuries

Who can help after you’ve suffered a TBI in a winter sport?

If you’ve suffered a TBI while participating in a winter sport, a San Luis Obispo brain injury lawyer at Ernst Law Group can investigate your accident and potentially file a compensation claim. We can determine if negligence played a role in your injuries and, if so, hold the liable party responsible for your losses.

Contact us today at (805) 541-0300 for a free consultation to learn if you have legal recourse after your winter sporting accident.