Winter sports – can wearing a helmet reduce the risk of head injury?

Winter sports – can wearing a helmet reduce the risk of head injury?
January 26 10:23 2017 Print This Article

Many people will be heading out onto the slopes this winter to enjoy time skiing and snowboarding. Although these activities can be considered more risky, many people do not think about how they can protect themselves to avoid any nasty accidents.

Research into injuries sustained by skiers has shown that 17% of all injuries sustained are head injuries. These can be caused by a number of things including; losing balance and hitting your head on the snow, crashing into trees and others objects, as well as accidents with other skiers.

Despite the high risks of sustaining a life-changing head injury, many skiers do not understand the importance of protecting your head.Image result for Winter sports – can wearing a helmet reduce the risk of head injury?

One of the simplest ways of helping protect yourself on the slopes is to wear a helmet. Helmets can protect people from the risk of a serious head or brain injury should something go wrong, yet around 30% of skiers and snowboarder do not wear a helmet!

One skiing accident that hit the news back in 2013 and showed just how severe these accidents can be, was the accident involving Formula One driver Michael Schumacher.

Michael was skiing with his son when he fell and hit his head on a rock. He was, in fact, wearing a helmet when his accident occurred, however, it has been reported that the helmet shattered upon impact, leading to the severe injuries sustained.

Three years later he is still receiving intense treatment and rehabilitation to improve his condition following his head injury.

Following the death of an experienced skier in Austria in 2014, coroner Michael Rose urged skiers to wear helmets after recording a verdict of accidental death at the inquest. The 23 year-old suffered a fractured skull after the accident in St Anton, it was noted that the skier was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Brain injury charity Headway have been campaigning for skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets. Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway said after the coroner’s comments, “Headway has been campaigning for skiers and snowboarders to wear helmets for a number of years. We hope that skiers and snowboarders will take careful note of theCoroner’s comments and take this simple, common-sense step to reduce the risk of death or lifelong disability.”

Philip Coulthurst, a skiing enthusiast and Head of Serious Injury at specialist head injury solicitors CFG Law said: “Even a slight knock to the head can have far-reaching consequences. Having helped people who have sustained serious head injuries, I appreciate just how quickly lives can change and the complex nature of these types of injuries.

“As a skier myself I now wouldn’t dream of heading onto the slopes without wearing a helmet. But a helmet cannot protect you from avoiding the most common injury to the brain, a concussion. So please look out for any symptoms of concussion if you or one of your group is involved in an accident where they hit their head or the head forcefully shaken around.  

“Stay safe and enjoy the mountains!”

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Susan Starr
Susan Starr

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