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Snowblower safety tips for Joe Sakic

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As soon as I heard that Joe Sakic had broken three fingers in a freak snowblower accident, I immediately flashed on all the other bizarre injuries suffered by Colorado athletes in recent years -- and I wasn't alone. The Rocky Mountain News' Dave Krieger -- who made our list of marquee talents the Denver Post should hire if the Rocky folds -- took on the subject in a column dubbed "Sakic Did What? Say It Ain't So, Joe," while USA Today's Reid Cherner and Tom Weir took things even further with "Sakic Injury is the Latest Weird One for Denver Jocks." Their hilarious roster featured Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes ("fell in his home in 2005 carrying a package of deer meat and broke his collarbone"); Broncos wide-out Brandon Marshall ("said he was wrestling with family members in the offseason when he slipped on a wrapper, fell and severed his right forearm"); ex-Rockies Larry Walker ("fell down a hill while fishing in Canada after the 1996 season and separated his right shoulder") and Mike Hampton ("missed a start in 2001 because of a stiff neck, which he blamed on the pillows on his hotel bed"); and Brian Griese -- twice ("sprained his left ankle when he said one of his dogs knocked him down the stairs at home, in 2002" and "trips on the driveway, is knocked out and suffers a black eye and chipped tooth" during a visit to Terrell Davis' house that same year).

But before you guffaw too heartily at Sakic, consider the warnings of a man known as WhiteCoat, whose post headlined "Why I Prefer to Use a Shovel" outlines the hideous dangers of snowblowers -- a point illustrated by the X-ray seen here. Yes, a snowblower took off the tips of this guy's first two fingers.

Want to avoid a similar fate without retiring your expensive contraption? Try following WhiteCoat's safety tips, accessible after the jump. -- Michael Roberts

"Why I Prefer to Use a Shovel"

You may not want to read this if you're eating.

I prefer shoveling snow because it doesn't cause pollution and it gives you an aerobic workout to boot. But that isn't all. I've also developed a healthy respect for what a snowblower can do to human appendages. I've seen a few too many mangled hands from snowblowers in my career.

This unfortunate gentleman was cleaning ice out of a jammed snowblower with his hand when all of a sudden the ice broke free and the snowblower grabbed his glove ... and the tips of two fingers. The tips of his index and middle fingers are no longer present on this x-ray of his hand.

Basic snowblower safety:

Don't leave a snowblower running unattended.

Turn a snowblower off if you're going to try to clean it. Then use a broom handle or a stick - not your hands.

Keep your hands and feet away from the spinning blades. Blades can keep spinning several seconds after the machine has been turned off.

Watch where the chute is pointing - snowblowers can turn rocks or pieces of wood into missiles.

Don't let kids run snowblowers. They aren't toys.

By the way, they came in with the tip of one of this poor guy's fingers a little while later - tendon and muscle still attached.

In the words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus: Hey ... lets be careful out there!

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