Throughout the winter, ice skating is a favorite activity among many people of all ages, but there are certain injuries that can occur if an ice rink is unsafe for patrons. It’s important for patrons and businesses to be aware of the potential hazards that may cause ice skating injuries to help reduce the risk of accidents.
Common Ice Skating Injuries
There are several types of injuries that people may sustain while ice skating. These include:
Oftentimes, skaters place pressure and weight on their ankles while skating, which can lead to sprains or fractures. These injuries may also result in damage to certain muscles in the ankle, including the peroneal and tibialis anterior.
Apart from the ankle, another commonly injured part of the body involved in skating is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is located in the center of the knee and is responsible for maintaining rotational stability. While skating, people can tear the ACL or the menisci around it.
Ice is a hard surface that can cause serious injuries upon impact. Some incidents on ice rinks may involve a loss of balance or control, causing skaters or others to slip on the ice and hit their head. Skaters may sustain a concussion or another type of traumatic brain injury, the symptoms of which may not become immediately apparent.
Wrist and Hand Injuries
When falling on the ice, people are likely to try to cushion the impact of the fall with their arms and hands. While this could help protect the head when falling face-first, impact with the ice could result in hand or wrist injuries.
Lacerations can also develop if people come into contact with the blades of ice skates or other sharp edges while skating.
Liability for Skating Injuries
Skating operators are required to maintain a safe ice skating rink, which entails maintaining both the equipment used and the condition of the ice rink and surrounding facilities. Failure to meet these standards can make the operator liable for negligence in the event of injuries, possibly resulting in a premises liability suit.
Posting notices and warnings can help maintain a safer environment by keeping patrons aware of potential dangers, but the operator will also need to remove any hazardous conditions and prevent harmful situations upon becoming aware of them. Operators may also be liable for injuries that an employee causes directly to patrons or other employees.
Tips for Staying Safe While Skating
Skating rink operators need to maintain a safe environment, but patrons can also take steps to avoid injury, including:
- Using proper protective equipment that fits, including helmets, padding, and reliable skates.
- Warming up before skating to help prevent muscle tears, sprains, and strains.
- Wearing warm clothing that provides sufficient protection against cold temperatures.
A safe skating rink can be fun for everyone, but both skaters and ice rink operators should do what they can to maintain a consistently safe environment. Doing so can help prevent serious injuries and subsequent legal repercussions in the event of an accident.