In recent years, there have been countless stories involving celebrities who have fallen or collided while skiing and been killed or seriously injured by severe brain trauma. These are the stories that make headline news. Emergency room physicians have more reports of the common folk sustaining concussions or other serious head trauma while skiing- in fact, according to the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma the number of ski-related brain trauma injuries is “alarming. So the question became whether or not it was better to wear a helmet for head protection while skiing or snowboarding.
Researchers from the department of sport science at the University of Innsbruck set out to determine whether wearing a helmet while skiing increased people’s willingness to take risks, in which helmets could actually decrease safety on the slopes.
They found no correlation between wearing a helmet and increased risk taking behavior. In fact, the more experienced the skier, the more likely they were to wear a helmet. In addition they found that helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 60 percent but a surprising number of safety experts and snow sports enthusiasts remain convinced that helmets reduce overall risk.
A survey of ski patrollers from across the country found that 77 percent did not wear helmets because they worried that it would reduce peripheral vision, hearing and response times.
However, researchers brought snowboarders and skiers into the lab in 2011 to test this theory. What they found was that peripheral vision and reaction times were virtually unchanged when they wore a helmet, compared with wearing a hat. Goggles slightly reduced peripheral vision and increased response times but helmets had no significant effect.
Dr. Adil H. Haider, a trauma surgeon and associate professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore states that the take-away form the growing body of science is unequivocal, “Helmets are safe. They don’t increase risk taking. And they protect against serious, even fatal head injuries. The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma has issued a recommendation that “all recreational skiers and snowboarders should wear safety helmets,” making them the first medical group to on record advocation universal helmet use.
The lawyers at Grazian and Volpe have represented hundreds of clients who have sustained serious injury due to a head trauma. We advise all our clients to wear protective head gear whenever engaged in an activity that presents the potential of a fall or collision. We now add skiers and snowboarders to that list.
Remember, it is always better to remain safe and avoid injury, but if you can’t stay safe, stay with Grazian and Volpe, Chicago’s Leading Trauma Injury Lawyers for over 30 years.