Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snowboarder injuries change with skill level

A study of snowboarding accidents was recently published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, which compares skill level to head injuries.  The authors looked at a population of 2367 patients over 9 seasons.  Patients were grouped as beginner or intermediate/expert riders.

No big surprise for the beginner group.  Their injuries occurred on “gentle” slopes, due to falls.  The area injured was predominantly the back of the head.  The intermediate/expert riders were injured mostly during jumping.  Their head trauma was significantly higher at the front of the head and face.  The intermediate/experts were also more likely to have collisions with fixed objects and other riders/skiers.

This study indicated less than 9% of the patients (from 2 medical centers in Japan) wore helmets.  The ski/board helmet industry has made safety advancements over the past 9 years to help us protect our head.  I’m sure anyone would agree that far more than 9% of riders are wearing helmets now.  On the other hand, the jumps have been getting bigger and the halfpipes have gotten taller. 

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