Helmet a 'Must' for Skier Safety
Study Shows Snowboarders and Skiers Reduce Head Injuries With Helmets
WebMD News Archive
Feb.1, 2010 -- Wearing helmets significantly reduces the risk of head
injuries among skiers and snowboarders, a new study shows.
Reporting in the Feb. 1 issue of the Canadian Medical Association
Journal, researchers say helmet use reduces the risk of such injuries by
35%. And contrary to widespread belief, helmets don't increase the risk of neck
injury, especially in children, who have greater head-to-body ratios, the
The researchers, who analyzed findings from 12 studies done in North
America, Europe, and Asia, say it seems clear that helmet use in recreational
activities is beneficial.
Kelly Russell MSc, and colleagues from the University of Calgary note that
up to 19% of all injuries reported by ski patrol and emergency departments are
due to head injuries and 4% are due to neck injuries.
Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death among skiers and
snowboarders, the researchers say.
The researchers add, however, that they could not determine the best types
of helmet design, as related to quality or fit, necessary to increase
"The use of helmets significantly protects against head injuries among
skiers and snowboarders," the researchers write. "Risks of head injury can be
reduced by 35 percent."
They conclude that the use of helmets should be strongly encouraged. "Our
pooled analysis of evidence suggests that helmets are effective in reducing the
risk of head injury among skiers and snowboarders," the researchers conclude.
"We found no significant association between helmet use and an increased risk
of neck injury."
They add: "Based on our findings, we encourage the use of helmets among
skiers and snowboarders."
In addition, they say, rigorous research is needed to determine which types
of helmets offer the best protection against injury.