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Ski and Snowboard Safety

Taking extra precautions can help keep you safe if you spend the winter months skiing or snowboarding. Ani Aydin, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine physician and Medical Director of SkyHealth, answered some frequently asked questions.

What is SkyHealth and how does it help patients?

SkyHealth is a critical care transport helicopter jointly utilized by YNHH and Northwell Health in Long Island, NY. It is staffed by specially trained Critical Care Paramedics and Nurses. This helicopter transports critically ill and injured patients from referring hospitals for specialty care and a higher level of care.

The YNHH Adult Ground Critical Care Transport team is a specialty ambulance service also available to transport critically ill and injured patients from referring hospitals in our region. Similar to the helicopter model, it is also staffed by specially trained Critical Care Paramedics and Nurses.

Can any patient use SkyHealth?

Any patient can use our YNHH SkyHealth helicopter and Adult Ground Care Transport ambulance. However, this service is requested by referring physicians. The referring physician from another hospital decides when these specialty services are required for the transport of sick patients from one hospital to another.

What role does SkyHealth have in assisting ski or snowboard rescues during the winter season?

While the helicopter and our specialty ambulance do not treat patients on scene, SkyHealth and the YNHH Adult Ground Critical Care Transport ambulance can be requested by a physician at a referring hospital who needs to send their critically ill or injured patient to another hospital in the YNHH system for specialty care or a higher level of care.

What are some common ski and snowboard injuries you see during the winter?

As with other winter sports, traumatic injuries, including orthopedic injuries, can be seen while participating in these activities. Also, other injuries may occur, depending on the person’s baseline health condition.

Are there other common health risks like heart attack?

Depending on a person’s pre-existing risk factors, a heart attack might occur with any physical exertion. One should consult their own Primary Care Physician prior to participating in such activities.

When should someone call 9-1-1?

As with any disease or injury, I would encourage people to call 911 if they think they need immediate attention and treatment in the Emergency Department. If necessary, the treating physician at a referring hospital can activate the SkyHealth helicopter or YNHH Adult Ground Critical Care transport team to transfer patients within or outside the YNHH system for emergent specialty care or a higher level or care.

How can people stay safe if they’re skiing or snowboarding this winter?

As with any other physical activity, people should be mindful of their physical health and consult their physician prior to participating in their activities. Safety precautions should be followed at all times, including the use of protective equipment such as helmets and goggles. Care should be taken to avoid prolonged exposure to extreme temperature. And as with all sports, people should be mindful of how to access help and care when needed.