For most of us, our experience of the bobsleigh will be watching the bobsleighing event at the Winter Olympics. However, some people will take the opportunity to have a go if they ever get the chance. In most cases, they will enjoy the breath-taking experience and chalk it up as something to tick off their bucket list. But in a few isolated cases, their experience may finish with a bobsleigh accident.
Of course, other people are part of a professional team that goes for gold at Olympic and other major events. Anyone taking part in an extreme sport will accept there is a risk of injury. For example, the British Medical Journal published research following the 2010 Winter Olympics that found over one in 10 athletes suffered an injury while competing.
The high speeds involved in bobsledding mean there are considerable risks of injury if something should go wrong. Here, we’ll discover what some of those injuries are.
Soft tissue injuries
This term covers cuts and bruises, although cuts are perhaps not as likely to occur as grazes. Grazes can be very sore – often more so than cuts. When you consider the speed a bobsled athlete travels at as they go down the track, you can imagine what might happen if they should have a bobsleigh accident and end up hurtling down the track with nothing between them and the ice.
The athletes practising this sport do everything they can to shave milliseconds off their finishing times. This could make all the difference between a silver or bronze medal and winning gold – or even finishing outside the medal positions altogether. They usually wear thin racing suits, designed to be comfortable and aerodynamic. Unfortunately, many of these could easily rip given the speeds the athletes travel at, if they should come off their bobsled. This would easily lead to large grazes where sections of the skin are taken off as they touch the ice. Although only the outer layer of skin may be taken off, this can be very sore – especially when considering the size of the injury.
Some people will experience a bobsleigh accident and break one or more bones in doing so. One source reveals the bobsleigh can travel at 25mph even before the athletes jump in, increasing to 100mph in many cases as the race continues.
So, if an athlete comes out of the bobsled and has a bobsleigh accident, broken bones are far from unheard of. Some may be lucky, while others could suffer multiple injuries and breaks. A lot will depend on how they come out of the bobsleigh and whether they slide or tumble on the ice. However, at the speeds mentioned, it is easy to see how broken bones can easily happen.
It’s also possible to break bones if the sled should crash with the riders still in it, rather than a rider falling out of the sled. Bobsleigh accidents could therefore lead to more than one person being hurt, since the bobsleigh events will typically see two or four riders involved in the competition.
In this instance, the impact the rider may suffer from would be the impact of the sled stopping abruptly, with them still inside it. Obviously, there are no seat belts in a bobsleigh, so there is a chance the riders could be flung out, flung against each other or hurt while crashing into the side or front of the sled.
This is a painful injury that can occur just as easily as a broken bone. In fact, the mobility of the shoulder joint – known as a ball-and-socket joint – means it can be popped out during a bobsleigh accident.
If the rider is holding onto the handles inside the bobsleigh and something goes wrong, they may continue to hold on even as they are ejected from the sled. This could potentially dislocate the shoulder if it is wrenched in an awkward manner. Similarly, if the rider tumbles out of the sled, it would be instinct to put their hands out to try and break their fall – even though doing so at speeds of up to 100mph, as seen, would be practically impossible. This too can dislocate the shoulder and sometimes it will be apparent that they have suffered the injury. A dislocated shoulder must be put back into place by medical personnel.
Have you been injured at work?
Most of us don’t go to work to be a professional bobsleigh champion, even though we may dream of it. The sport began in the 19th century, but while injuries in a bobsleigh accident can potentially be quite nasty, most competitors will get through a competition without injury.
The same can be said of most people in most professions. Health and safety laws apply in all professions, industries and jobs. When these are followed, they lead to a vastly reduced chance of any worker suffering any injury. While most of us will never experience the thrill of the bobsleigh run, those that do must still expect all reasonable precautions to be made to keep them as safe as is practically possible.
Claiming for a bobsleigh accident or another injury
No matter what kind of job you do, you are protected by health and safety laws. If those laws are not followed or respected by your employer, and you’ve suffered injury or even illness because of this, you may have a chance to claim some compensation. The amount you may get if you receive compensation would be calculated as per your injury and how bad it was, as well as assessing the prognosis.
To find out more, no matter what injuries you suffered at work, call the team working at Accident Advice Helpline for no-obligation advice now. Call 0800 689 0500, or ring 0333 500 0993 if you’re using a mobile. Either way, it’s easy to get legal information when you need it, and you could be on the receiving end of compensation in due course if you do make a claim with our assistance.
Date Published: February 26, 2014
Author: David Brown