Head injury and helmet usage trends for alpine skiers and snowboarders in western Canada during the decade 2008–9 to 2017–18

Tracey J. Dickson, F. Anne Terwiel

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    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: This research explores snowsport head injury trends in western Canadian resorts over the decade 2008–2018. Design: Ecological study. Methods: Head-injury and participation data on alpine skiing and snowboarding (snowsports) was provided by the Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA) for 2008–2018. Injury reports from the ski patrol of 52 western Canadian resorts were analysed. 29 resorts were included where there was both injury and participation data for at least 8 out of 10 seasons, resulting in analysis of 10,371 reports. Data was imported into SPSS 24 for analysis using descriptive statistics, chi-squared analysis, odds ratios and linear regression. Results: Over the decade: the head injury rate was 0.205 injuries per thousand skier days. Head injuries were 9–10% of all injuries, significantly lower for skiers (8.3%) than snowboarders (10.9%). There were no significant differences in helmet-usage rates of injured and non-injured populations. 80.6% of injured participants wore a helmet, those wearing a helmet were 8% more likely to report a head injury than those not wearing a helmet. There was little variation in the proportion of head injuries reported as concussion, but a 50% reduction in ambulance or helicopter transport, a head-injury severity proxy. There was a significant relationship between the proportion of snowsport participants who were snowboarders and the head-injury rate. Conclusions: Head injuries remain a rare event. There has been a decline in the severity of reported head injuries which may be a function of a decline in the proportion of snowboarders in snowsports.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2246
    Pages (from-to)1004-1009
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


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