Helmets Can Save Lives in Winter Sports

Injured skiers, snowboarders with head protection are less apt to lose consciousness, study finds

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SATURDAY, Oct. 24, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Skiers and snowboarders who don't wear helmets are more likely to suffer a head injury and lose consciousness than those who do wear helmets, a new U.S. study has found.

The researchers analyzed the medical records of skiers and snowboarders treated at nine hospital emergency departments in Colorado, New York and Vermont between July 2002 and July 2004.

They found that:

  • More collisions with fixed objects occurred in the Northeast
  • Loss of consciousness was more likely to occur among terrain park users
  • Patients in Colorado were less likely to lose consciousness
  • Loss of consciousness was less likely among those who wore helmets than among those who did not

The findings are reported in the fall issue of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.

The authors noted that traumatic brain injury accounts for 50 to 88 percent of skiing and snowboarding fatalities. They expressed hope that their findings would strengthen the case for the use of helmets in these winter sports.

More information

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons has more about sports-related head injuries.

SOURCE: Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, September 2009, news release

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