Snow injuries no joke

I saw a story today that said free agent pitcher Carl Pavano ruptured his spleen after falling while shoveling snow in his driveway.

He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks.

My first impulse was to think it was funny. Then it wasn’t. I stopped thinking snow spills were hilarious back when I was 21 and stepped off a friend’s porch onto some black ice. I landed flat on my back so quickly I didn’t even realize I had slipped. Everyone else laughed. I felt around to see if my legs were moving.

I stopped thinking falls were funny at all in the 1990s, when a friend of mine fell off the roof of his house while shoveling snow, paralyzing himself from the waist down. In a  different but also gravely serious situation,  freestyle skier Sarah Burke died a year ago after an accident during a training run in Park City.

I hadn’t thought much recently about spills in the snow until Thursday, when freezing rain hit the Salt Lake area. Several times I found myself sliding along as I navigated through a parking lot or up my driveway.

There are always plenty of warnings about driving in the snow, not so many about walking or shoveling in the snow. I won’t even go into the potential dangers of avalanches. I’ll just leave it with this reminder: Winter is dangerous. And not nearly as funny as we might think.

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