-- Robert Preidt
SUNDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- If you ski or snowboard, a
new study offers vital safety information: Helmets do reduce the
risk of head injuries and save lives.
The study also found that the use of helmets does not give
skiers and snowboarders a false sense of security that might lead
them to take risks that might boost their risk of injury.
The findings, from a review of 16 published studies, appear in
the November issue of the
Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.
"There really is a great case to be made for wearing helmets," study leader Dr. Adil Haider, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in a Hopkins news release. "By increasing awareness and giving people scientific proof, we hope behavior changes will follow."
Some skiers and snowboarders argue that wearing a helmet on the
slopes reduces ability to see and hear what is going on around them
and encourages risky behavior, because they feel protected. Some
also suggest that wearing a helmet increases the risk of neck and
"These are all just excuses. Our research shows none of those theories hold water," said Haider, director of Johns Hopkins' Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research.
Besides reducing the odds of sustaining a head injury, helmets
also reduce their severity, the study found.
Each year in the United States, about 600,000 skiing and
snowboarding injuries occur. Up to 20 percent of those are head
injuries, and 22 percent of those head injuries are severe enough
to cause loss of consciousness, concussion or more serious
In many cases, skiers and snowboarders who suffer head injuries
are not wearing helmets, according to Haider and his research
colleagues on the Injury Control and Violence Prevention Committee
at the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma.
As a result of the study's findings, the association recommends
that all skiers and snowboarders wear helmets.
The National Ski Areas Association offers
ski and snowboard health and safety tips.
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