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Ski Helmets Reduce Injuries and Save Lives

 

The National Ski Area Association (NSAA) recently released a study on ski helmet use at resorts around the country.  The two main points of the study show that: 1) Helmet use is way up, and 2) Helmets effectively reduce injuries.

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The NSAA’s research shows that as of last season, 78 percent of all skiers and snowboarders wore helmets during most of the season.  Helmet use has increased every year since NSAA began keeping track of it in 2002.  That year only about 25 percent of skiers and boarders wore helmets.

Helmet use among kids is even better.  Last year 85 percent of kids (18 and under) wore helmets on the slopes.

 

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Its well established that ski helmets work.  The NSAA based its findings on a study that concluded, “while helmet usage increased in the last ten years, there was a dramatic improvement in the decline of potentially serious head injuries, particularly concussions.”  The study also found that ski helmets are especially effective in preventing skull fractures and have virtually eliminated scalp lacerations.

 

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In 2011, New Jersey became the first state to require ski helmets on kids.  Although New Jersey only has two small ski areas, the law is a good first step in protecting kids.  Hopefully, the trend will spread to other states with more ski areas and more kids on skis.

I highly encourage anyone who sets out on skis to wear a helmet.  I know firsthand that they work.  With the recent focus on concussions in sports, and especially the long term impacts of concussions, anything that can be done to prevent head injuries is a good idea.  Here are a few tips:

  1.  Helmets only work if you wear them.  They don’t do any good in your backpack.  Make helmet use a habit and model helmet use for kids.
  2. Make sure the helmet is a good fit.  A helmet that is too lose will be worthless.  It should be snug and not slip around on the head.  Keep the chin strap tightened as well.
  3. Not all helmets are created equally.  Make sure your helmet is designed for skiing/snowboarding and carries ASTM or CEN certification.  You usually get what you pay for with helmets.
  4. There are lots of ways to encourage kids to wear helmets.  Let them add stickers or pick out a helmet cover.

 

Finally, if you are headed to the slopes and don’t have a helmet, there’s still no excuse not to wear one.  Most ski resorts rent helmets inexpensively as do many shops.

Protect your brain – wear a helmet on the slopes.  See you out there!

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For more information on why kids should were helmets see:

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Here’s the link to the original NSAA press release:

http://www.nsaa.org/media/255109/Helmet_Fact_Sheet_10_15_2015.pdf