Study: Over 11,000 people injured shoveling each year


Very few people enjoy shoveling snow, and if you're not careful, it can be an injury-riddle task during the winter.

Most of the time, Timothy Williams is a cook at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Kingsport. However, he trades his spatula for a shovel when it snows.

"Just so we can get customers in here safely," Williams says.

Bradley Reider is in a similar situation. He's a pastor, but needs to clear his church's parking lot before his service.

"There's not much snow so it's really easy," he explains.

Easy may be a relative term for these two, but neither are part of a startling statistic. According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, more than 11,000 people suffer shoveling injuries each year.

"Most often, it's just people straining their back by not shoveling correctly," Dr. Russell Hill, a Wellmont emergency physician, says. "But every once in a while, they'll be out there and slip and fall on the ice and have a more serious injury like fracturing their hip."

For some, shoveling is the most physical activity they get all year. If that's the case, you need to be even more cautious.

"People overexert themselves so much, they've had some heart damage or had a heart attack," Dr. Hill says.

Doctors say if you are shoveling, make sure you bend your knees and don't life the now with just your back. Also, it's a lot easier to push the snow then it is to pick it all up and throw it.

This most recent winter blast only brought dry snow. Meteorologist David Boyd says that's because it was so cold and it didn't take as much moisture to create all the snow.

That's a good thing, because the heavier snow leads to more injuries.

"More weight and it's more compact," Williams says. "When you have to shovel it, nine out of 10 times it's iced up."

Doctors also suggest stretching before you shovel and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated.

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