Fit Bits: September 2001


Got Coverage?

A letter you write today could save you an arm and a leg tomorrow. Vague wording in a law passed by Congress allows insurance providers to deny the claims of skiers who get hurt on the slopes. Snowsports organizations now want your help in turning that situation around.

Ironically, the original intent of the law was to prevent insurance companies from denying benefits based on a person's active lifestyle. But while the act prohibits companies from denying insurance plans to people who ski, ride horses or engage in other such recreation, it does allow providers to deny specific claims if an accident is the result of willful, risky activity. While there are few recorded instances of people being denied coverage in recreation-related accidents, the National Ski Areas Association and SnowSports Industries America want to prevent it from happening in the future.Don't get left in the cold this winter: Contact your congressional representatives and request that the gap in wording be closed. For more information and a sample letter to Congress, log on to
-Deborah Marks

Down With The Bar
Lowering the chairlift safety bar may drop you a few notches on the "cool" scale, but it could save your knees-at least if there's a footrest attached. According to Dr. Paul Abbot Jr. of the Vail Valley Medical Center, using a footrest to help support the weight of your skis and boots dramatically decreases the stress placed on your knees, particularly on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). Most ski-related knee injuries are incurred due to damage to these ligaments, which act like ropes that hold the knee joint in place, says Abbott, who treats more than 2,000 knee injuries each season. Snowboards may be even more damaging: Not only are they heavy, but they also cause the knee to twist as the legs dangle from the chair. Knees or ego: It's your choice.
-Troy M. Hawks