Brain Injury Leading Cause of Death and Serious Injury for Skiers and Snowboarders

by John McKiggan

A new study from the University of Calgary has found that wearing a helmet while skiing or snowboarding reduces the risk of head injuries by 35%.

A report in the latest in the latest Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and serious injury to skiers and snowboarders. Studies have found that between 2 and 5 of every 10 traumatic brain injuries could have been prevented by wearing a helmet.

Ski Industry Rejects Calls for Mandatory Helmet Use

CBC News quoted Jason Crawford, the manager of Crabbe Mountain Ski Hill near Fredericton as saying:

“I don’t think we’re at the point where we need to make it a law, to make it mandatory. People should be allowed to make those decisions for themselves.”

Helmet use is becoming more popular and Crawford said that close to 80% of skiers on Crabbe Mountain were wearing them this year. But there are still people who refuse to adopt the simple measures to prevent traumatic brain injury.

Doctor Charles Tator is the founder of Think First, a non-profit organization dedicated to education and prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries, has called for a “no helmet, no lift ticket” policy. A move that the skiing industry has resisted to date.

On the one hand you will have skiers who don’t want to have their freedom interfered with. On the other hand, the public has to pay the enormous medical costs for people who have suffered catastrophic brain injuries.

So what do you think? Should skiers have a right to ski without helmets? Or should they be required to wear helmets for their own safety?

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