Keeping Your Head On the Slopes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/21/06

Keeping Your Head On the Slopes

Many are hoping that all the attention on the olympics will convince skiers and snow-boarders to imitate the medal winners by wearing helmets on the slopes like the great athletes do. Up to eight thousand head injuries could be prevented every year simply by adding a helmet to the ski gear.

That's according to new findings that appear in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. "Wearing a helmet, if you're a skier or snowboarder, reduces your risk of having a head injury by 60 percent," sayd Roald Bahr, M.D., Ph.D. with the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. Dr. Bahr says after studying 6 thousand people on the slopes, including 32 hundred ski and snowboard injuries, that helmets protected everyone. No matter whether they were men, women, young, old, beginning or experienced on snow, but in order for everyone on the slopes to use a helmet attitudes need to change, even though researchers have found that it is the experienced skiers and snowboarders who are more likely today to wear a helmet, compared to the tourists.

"When people come, and they're tourists, they really want to fit in. They want to look like an experienced skier, someone who knows what they're doing, so we're very hopeful that the trends with the experienced skiers and professionals wearing helmets help redefine it and make it a cool thing" says Robert Williams, M.D. with the Vermont Children's Hospital. Some countries require children to wear helmets while on the slopes. Here in the U.S., no official rule has been set for recreational skiing, although some resorts require kids to wear helmets in ski school.

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