Head Injuries Are Up on the Slopes, Despite Helmet Use

A fascinating story in the New York Times has reported that head injuries are up on the slopes, despite the increased use of helmets.

Experts quoted in the story cite a few reasons for this, the most significant being an increase in risky behavior. This, of course, is similar to the argument made about helmets on the football field, that players are more likely to lead with the head, then use proper tackling technique.

The article elaborated on this point: “Experts agree that the roots of the trend are 2012-03-14 17.05.27complicated and could be related to increased awareness about brain injuries and reporting of them. But they also agreed on one element underpinning the trend: an increase in risk-taking behaviors that they said the snow-sports industry had embraced. In recent years, many resorts have built bigger features in their terrain parks and improved access to more extreme terrain. At the same time, advances in equipment have made it easier to ski faster, perform tricks and venture out of bounds.

“‘There’s a push toward faster, higher, pushing the limits being the norm, not the exception,’ said Nina Winans, a sports medicine physician at Tahoe Forest MultiSpecialty Clinics in Truckee, Calif. ‘So, all of those factors — terrain parks, jumping cliffs and opening terrain that maybe wasn’t open in the past — play into some of these statistics with injuries.'”

To read the full article, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/sports/on-slopes-rise-in-helmet-use-but-no-decline-in-brain-injuries.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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