Although most Americans’ exposure to the sport of Curling comes from watching the Winter Olympics, the sport is very popular in many other countries, including Switzerland (who’s women’s team has won the most matches so far), as well as Canada, Scotland and the UK etc. Still, curling has been steadily gaining ground here as well, and “with that increase in popularity, there has been an increase in the amount of injuries, particularly to shoulders,” noted. Dr. Bradford Parsons, an orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Curling is played by two competing teams of four players who take turns using brooms to slide 8 polished granite “stones” each across a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric rings, known as the “house.”
The curler can create a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the stone may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. Although it has been compared to shuffleboard, curling involves a lot of teamwork, skill and strategy into selecting the best path and placement of a stone for each situation.Points are obtained for the stones resting closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each round (end), which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. There are usually between 8-10 ends per match.
To prevent injuries, particularly among those new to the sport Dr. Parsons recommends that players:
1. Always stay firmly planted on the ice, helping to avoid a slip or fall. When a person elevates, it could throw the curler off balance, potentially leading to a fall and serious shoulder injury.
2. By carrying their curling broom at all times athletes can prevent falls or injuries, especially if they can use it catch their balance.
3, Do Not Pick Up the stone with your hands, as this can cause a loss of balance and a fall. It should also be noted that curlers should also be very careful when picking up the stones when off the ice as well, since this can cause shoulder injuries.