Fatal sledding accident spurs safety concerns

Jan 24, 2024, 6:00 AM | Updated: 6:48 am

Two boys with sleds...

Traffic flows on I-80 as children sled at Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

CASTLE DALE, Utah — The community of Castle Dale is mourning the loss of a high school student following a tragic sledding accident. Kirsten Beagley, 18, was killed on Saturday.

Emery High School students all wore pink to school on Monday to remember and honor their classmate.  Additionally, Castle Dale community members are doing fundraisers to help support the family.

Tragedies like this raise the question: How safe is sledding?

“We see some pretty significant injuries,” said Trauma Director for Intermountain American Fork Hospital, Dr. John Wennergren.

The most common sledding injuries include sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures, and head-related injuries.

Experts say helmets are a key line of defense when it comes to preventing serious head injuries.

“It’s a winter activity where they’re going at pretty high rates of speed and they should be wearing a helmet,” said Wennergren.

Sledding safety event

Intermountain Health and Lone Peak Fire will host a Sledding Safety event this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Experts from the organizations will demonstrate safety measures and give out helmets and safety information. Additionally, hot chocolate, bottled water, and sunscreen will be available. 

The event will be at Tibble Fork Reservoir, a popular sledding area in American Fork Canyon.

“It’s never a fun thing to talk to the loved ones of a family member whose injuries are not survivable. Injuries that, in retrospect, could have easily been prevented,” said Wennergren.

Related reading: Utah family devastated after high school senior killed in tubing accident

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Fatal sledding accident spurs safety concerns