Helmet Use Among Skiers and Snowboarders in Southern Alberta

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Skiing and snowboarding are among the most popular winter activities in Canada. Unfortunately, many injuries occur in these activities, including severe injuries often involving the head, which can result in death. These injuries, particularly severe head or brain injuries, are an important burden on the health care system, and may be prevented by encouraging helmet use. Helmet effectiveness is well established, but there are little recent data on ski and snowboard helmet prevalence at ski areas in southern Alberta, with no published reports on correct helmet fit. This study determined the prevalence of helmet use and correct helmet use at a single ski area in Southern Alberta and examined the factors associated with helmet use and correct fit. Information on helmet use and correct use, as well as environmental and behavioural characteristics was collected at the base of the ski hill by both interviewing and observing participants. Age (<18 years old), skiing/snowboarding with companions, and skiing/snowboarding with companions also wearing helmets increased the likelihood of each wearing a helmet and wearing a helmet correctly. The protective effect of helmets in skiers and snowboarders has been demonstrated convincingly. The education and promotion of helmet use and correct helmet use is paramount in reducing the risk of head injuries among skiers and snowboarders. Our findings will inform participants, parents, members of the ski-snowboard industry, and the stakeholders that seek to influence them to improve the safety of skiers and snowboarders of all ages.
Pfister, K. (2019). Helmet Use Among Skiers and Snowboarders in Southern Alberta (Master's thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.