Broken bones and Hospitals in the Alps

Broken bones and Hospitals in the Alps

I am in a hospital in England, the reason is uninteresting and quite routine. I, like most people, prefer to avoid hospitals. But as member of a resort team in the Alps it can be a regular occurrence, skiing and snowboarding are not called extreme sport for nothing. And no matter how good at our chosen winter activity we think we are and no matter how many precautions we take there is a chance we could end up in L’Hôpital.

The number of occasions I have cause to attend an Alpine based medical center is probably higher than most. And at the risk of making a regrettable stament, I have yet to be the reason for those visits. So as I sit here and dwell I thought I would share some of the stories with you.

The Neck Injury

I was on the bubble up from Le Praz and as we tracked across the Courchevel snow park I saw some friends building up to a jump. One of these friends was not renowned for his jumping skills. I watch him launch down the slope, his run-in looked wobbly. Sadly I didn’t see the jump as the bubble carried me out of view. I walked over to the park to discover lots of people I knew gathered around the resluts of the jump that I didn’t get to witness, on the floor. For some reason not one person had any first aid experience and despite the fact that my friend had landed upside down on his head and in considerable pain, people were trying to move him. I quickly put a stop to this and sent someone for assistance. Help arrived and off the two of us went to hospital. A week later he was discharged sporting a upper body cast.

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Three In A Day

Once again I found my self on a chair lift witnessing an injury. As I approached the top I saw the Resort Rep from a rival company standing up on her snowboard. With out moving she fell forward. When I got off the lift she was nowhere to bee seen. This particular day was a fresh powder day so I didn’t expect people to be waiting around. During that day my mate followed me down an off piste section caught an edge and broke his wrist. Like a true mate he made his way home and headed of to the hospital on his own. Later that day on a powder feild full of rollers the visibility was getting low. I had just launced off a slightly obscured lump and landed in a big pile of fluffy stuff. Behind me came another member of our group he also hit the lump. Sadly he missed the fluffy stuff and emerged with a broken collar bone. This time I knew he needed help so we got him off the mountain and headed for medical assistance. So I found my self in the waiting room with three people all with injuries that had witnessed.

Have You Got A Gregg

My last story, of which there are more, involves a non ski related injury. During the training week of my first season in the Alps I saw a guy a guy break his leg. The injury was caused by a miss guided beer fuled rugby tackle onto concrete following a few beers in a pub. The guy was called Greg and I was not part of the tackle or had even spoken to him. All I really knew is that he didn’t turn up to training the next day. Two days later I was along with someone else I was dispatched to take Greg some of his belongings. We arrived at hospital to realise that A, we didn’t know Greg’s full name and B, our french language skill were completely inadequate for the task. ” Avez-vous une Greg?”

By Jim Duncombe

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