Helmets can save lives on the slopes: study

November 13, 2012

Baltimore – Recreational skiers and snowboarders should wear helmets to reduce the risk of severe injuries, concludes a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

Researchers reviewed 16 published studies on injuries among skiers and snowboarders. They found helmet use saved lives and did not increase the risk of injury, which they said debunks the theory that helmets create a false sense of security that encourages risky behavior.

Approximately 10 million Americans ski or snowboard each year, incurring roughly 600,000 injuries, up to 20 percent of which are head injuries, according to the study abstract. More than 20 percent of head injuries cause loss of consciousness, concussion or worse, and those victims often were not wearing a helmet, researchers said.

Based on the findings, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma has recommended all skiers and snowboarders wear helmets.

The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.