Head injury trends and helmet use in skiers and snowboarders in Western Canada, 2008-2009 to 2012-2013: An ecological study

Tracey DICKSON, Stephen TRATHEN, F Terwiel, Gordon WADDINGTON, Roger Adams

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    This research explored associations between helmet use and head injuries in snowsports by investigating reported snowsport injuries in Western Canada from 2008–2009 to 2012–2013. The key finding was that increased helmet use (from 69% to 80%) was not associated with a reduction in reported head injuries. Over the study period, the average rate of reported head injuries was 0.2/1000 skier visits, with a statistically significant variation (P < 0.001). The line of best fit showed an non-significant upward trend (P = 0.13). Lacerations were the only subcategory of head injuries that decreased significantly with helmet use. A higher proportion of people who reported a head injury were wearing a helmet than for injuries other than to the head. Skiers were more likely to report a head injury when wearing a helmet than snowboarders (P < 0.001 cf. P = 0.22). There were significant differences in characteristics of helmet and non-helmet wearers. Helmet wearers were more likely to be: young adults (P < 0.001); beginner/novices (P = 0.004); and snowboarders (P < 0.001), but helmet wearing was not associated with gender (P = 0.191). Further research is needed to explore the possible reasons for the failure of helmets to reduce head injuries, for example, increased reporting of head injuries and increased risk-taking combined with over-rating of the helmets' protection.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)236-244
    Number of pages9
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


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