With the start of the spring skiing season, many skiers are hitting the slopes in order to enjoy both the snow and the warm rays of the sun. Should they be wearing a helmet?
Among winter sports enthusiasts, the most potentially serious injuries are to the head and neck. In order to prevent this type of trauma, wearing a helmet has been recommended since the early 1980s. This is especially the case among children, since their behaviour on the slopes makes them more vulnerable to accidents and their smaller size means they are more likely to suffer a head injury.
Canada took part in an international study that revealed head trauma is the most deadly injury among skiers and snowboarders. While this type of injury only makes up 3 to 15 percent of all injuries, it causes 87.5 percent of all fatalities on the slopes. Traumatic brain injuries, which are becoming more common, account for 50 to 88 percent of fatal accidents in ski resorts and for two-thirds of deaths among young skiers. Beginners suffer more head injuries and traumas, accidents that incidentally are more common and serious among snowboarders.
In addition, according to a study published recently in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, wearing a helmet when skiing could cut the risk of head trauma by 35 percent among adults, and even by 60 percent in children. Wearing a helmet is therefore strongly recommended for skiers and boarders, no matter what their age.
You may think that a helmet is cumbersome, but most people get used to them very quickly. More importantly, keep in mind how your life could be impacted by a head injury such as a severe concussion or skull fracture: most people recover well from these injuries, but the healing process can be long and temporarily disrupt your school or work life. It’s worth serious consideration! And as an appreciable bonus, another advantage of wearing a helmet is that it helps keep your ears warm during the coldest months of the year!