Is it time for all skiers to wear helmets?

Feb 10, 2011

In a bid to decrease brain injuries from skiing and snowboarding accidents, experts in an editorial published in the British Medical Journal today are calling for more public awareness to promote ski helmets.

Dr Gerhard Ruedl and colleagues from the Department of Sport Science at the University of Innsbruck in Austria say there is convincing evidence that ski helmets protect against head injury. They argue that one way to increase helmet use is to ensure that they can be easily hired or included in skiing packages.

The authors say that the debate about ski helmets has intensified after a few fatal skiing injuries in Europe and North America. On New Year's Day in 2009 a politician wearing a helmet collided with a woman who was not wearing one. The politician survived but the woman did not. In March 2009, actress Natasha Richardson died after a traumatic head injury while in Canada – she was not wearing helmet.

A recent study concluded that general head injury was reduced by 35% when ski helmets were used and this rose to 59% for children under 13. "Wearing a ski helmet seems to make sense to prevent in all age groups," say the authors.

They acknowledge, however, that there are some arguments against helmets. There is a theory, they say, that helmet use may provide a false sense of security and result in riskier behaviour. One study found that helmet use is higher in more skilled skiers so perhaps "the use of a helmet is not necessarily associated with a higher level of risk taking but primarily with a higher level of skill" they suggest.

Ultimately the authors believe the evidence points to having a protective effect and say that action needs to be taken to increase helmet use.

Explore further: NY councilman wants ban on kid toys in high-calorie meals

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Motorcycle helmets reduce spine injuries after collisions

Feb 09, 2011

Motorcycle helmets, long known to dramatically reduce the number of brain injuries and deaths from crashes, appear to also be associated with a lower risk of cervical spine injury, new research from Johns Hopkins suggests.

Head injuries increase after motorcycle helmet law repeal

Jun 12, 2008

Pennsylvania motorcyclists suffered large increases in head injury deaths and hospitalizations in the two years following the repeal of its motorcycle helmet law, according to a University of Pittsburgh study to be published ...

Motorcycle helmets keep riders alive, review confirms

Jan 23, 2008

Fewer than half of U.S. states require every motorcycle rider — drivers and passengers — to wear a helmet; and four states have no helmet requirements whatsoever. Around the world, the same patchwork legal pattern exists.

Recommended for you

Many patients are discharged without a diagnosis

2 hours ago

Chest pain, breathing difficulties, fainting. Each year approx. 265,000 Danes are acutely admitted to medical departments with symptoms of serious illness. New research from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital ...

Wellness visits, physicals need different documentation

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Documentation rules for annual wellness visits (AWVs) for Medicare differ from those for preventive visits, which are not covered by Medicare, according to an article published Aug. 5 in Medical Ec ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2011
Hell yes.

Not only helmets, but seat belts, roll and crash bars, front and side air bags, collapsible steering poles, with front and back bumpers.

And EPA estimated mileage stickers too.

Let's enhance the skiing experience, but safely.