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Helmets save lives of skiers and snowboarders
Date:11/11/2012

The use of helmets by skiers and snowboarders decreases the risk and severity of head injuries and saves lives, new Johns Hopkins-led research suggests. The findings debunk long-held beliefs by some that the use of helmets gives athletes a false sense of security and promotes dangerous behavior that might increase injuries.

"There really is a great case to be made for wearing helmets," says Adil H. Haider, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the leader of the study published in the November issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. "By increasing awareness and giving people scientific proof, we hope behavior changes will follow."

Statistics show that roughly 10 million Americans ski or snowboard each year in the United States, with approximately 600,000 injuries reported annually. Up to 20 percent of those are head injuries, which mostly occur when skiers or snowboarders hit inanimate objects such as trees or the ground. Twenty-two percent of those head injuries are severe enough to cause loss of consciousness or concussion or even worse injuries. Often the injured were not wearing helmets, Haider and his team found.

Haider notes that traumatic head injuries among winter sports enthusiasts lead to hospitalization, death or long-term disability, and contribute to increased health care spending. Head injuries are the chief cause of death among skiers and snowboarders. For the study, Haider and his colleagues on the Injury Control and Violence Prevention Committee at the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma searched the medical literature and reviewed in detail 16 published studies on injury in recreational skiers and snowboarders. Analysis showed that helmets are lifesavers and do not increase the risk of injury. As a result of this study, the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma now recommends all skiers and snowboarders wear helme
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Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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