The use of helmets by skiers and snowboarders decreases the risk and severity of head injuries and saves lives, new Johns Hopkins-led research suggests. The findings debunk long-held beliefs by some that the use of helmets gives athletes a false sense of security and promotes dangerous behavior that might increase injuries.
"There really is a great case to be made for wearing helmets," says Adil H. Haider, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the leader of the study published in the November issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. "By increasing awareness and giving people scientific proof, we hope behavior changes will follow."
Statistics show that roughly 10 million Americans ski or snowboard each year in the United States, with approximately 600,000 injuries reported annually. Up to 20 percent of those are head injuries, which mostly occur when skiers or snowboarders hit inanimate objects such as trees or the ground. Twenty-two percent of those head injuries are severe enough to cause loss of consciousness or concussion or even worse injuries. Often the injured were not wearing helmets, Haider and his team found.
Haider notes that traumatic head injuries among winter sports enthusiasts lead to hospitalization, death or long-term disability, and contribute to increased health care spending. Head injuries are the chief cause of death among skiers and snowboarders. For the study, Haider and his colleagues on the Injury Control and Violence Prevention Committee at the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma searched the medical literature and reviewed in detail 16 published studies on injury in recreational skiers and snowboarders. Analysis showed that helmets are lifesavers and do not increase the risk of injury. As a result of this study, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma now recommends all skiers and snowboarders wear helmets.
There are no laws in the United States mandating the use of helmets among recreational skiers and snowboarders. In Austria, children are legally required to wear helmets, and across Europe there are efforts to pass similar legislation. Data from the 2009 to 2010 National Demographic Study done by the National Ski Areas Association, encompassing more than 130,000 interviews from across the United States, showed that ski helmet use is on the rise. Overall, some 57 percent of skiers and snowboarders wore helmets during the 2009-2010 ski season, compared with 25 percent during the 2002-2003 ski season. Haider and his family are avid skiers and all wear helmets on the slopes.
Haider says some skiers have long argued that wearing a helmet on the slopes lowers visibility, hampers the ability to hear what is going on around them and encourages risky behavior, because they feel invincible. Some skiers have also suggested that wearing a helmet increases the torque and whiplash felt when a skier does go down, making neck and cervical spine injury more likely.
"These are all just excuses," Haider says. "Our research shows none of those theories hold water."
The high-profile death in 2009 of actress Natasha Richardson after an injury sustained on a Canadian ski slope brought attention to the issue of helmet use. She was not wearing one. Haider, director of Johns Hopkins' Center for Surgical Trials and Outcomes Research, says Richardson hit her head when she fell backward at a low speed while on a beginner's "bunny" slope, and wearing a helmet likely would have prevented lethal head injury.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences (K23GM093112-01) and the American College of Surgeons' C. James Carrico Fellowship for the Study of Trauma and Critical Care.
For more information: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/surgery/faculty/Haider
Stephanie Desmon | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology