Helmet Use Encouraged for Skiers, Snowboarders

It is that time of year again, time to get outside and do a little sliding at one of the local ski and snowboard areas.  As skiing and snowboarding continue to be a popular winter sport, local hospital emergency departments stay busy managing injuries.  Although many injuries are minor, some can also be severe.

According to the Journal of Trauma, head injuries are the most frequent reason for hospital admission among skiers and snowboarders. Even worse, the most common cause of death for those on the slopes is head injuries. There is an associated 8 percent fatality rate among those admitted to the hospital with head injuries. 

These injuries, however, can be reduced, according to Amy Schmidt, RN, BSN Injury Prevention/Outreach Coordinator and Pediatric Trauma Program Coordinator with Saint Joseph’s Hospital Trauma Services in Marshfield. All one needs to do is wear a helmet.

“Skiing and snowboarding are wonderful winter activities, but speed and a potential lack of control may result in dangerous collisions or falls,” Schmidt said.  “A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association explains the importance of helmet use when skiing and snowboarding.  The study included 3,277 injuries related to these two winter sports.  Almost 18 percent of those injuries where head injuries.  The study was able to show that helmet use was associated with a 60 percent reduction in the risk for head injury.   Safety should be a priority.”

Signs and symptoms of a head injury may include:

  • Appear dazed or stunned
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Can not recall events prior to or after the incident
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Visual changes
  • Problems concentrating
  • Balance problems or dizziness

“Having your ‘bell rung or dinged’ can be very serious,” Schmidt said.  "If you have signs or symptoms of a head injury, please seek medical care.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a Ministry Medical Group provider call 715.342.7500.

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