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.