Skiing/Boarding Helmets and what is the correct messagePosted: January 14, 2010
Journalist now days can write, but they have forgotten had to understand what they are writing. Bloggers, like myself, can get away with murder. Helmets are a big topic on the web, and I have written about them before. More information over the debate about ski helmets: Ski Helmets ineffective crashes were the wear is going faster than 12 miles per hour, Mixed emotions, but a lot of, I told you so are some of the articles I’ve written for this blog, and I have even indorsed a helmet A new idea that makes sense in helmets: the Bern Hard Hat
However, I have seen so much garbage lately it is starting to be a pain.
So let’s put some facts down.
Helmets may prevent head injuries. There are not many arguments here. The number one reason I can see to wear a helmet is that idiots put the comfort/safety/footrest bar down without letting other people on the lift know. The bar comes down and whacks you in the head.
Helmets will save your life. This is crap. There is no research to support this statement. See Shealy, Jasper E., Johnson, Robert J., and Ettlinger, Carl F., Do Helmets Reduce Fatalities or Merely Alter the Patterns of Death?, Skiing Trauma and Safety 17th International Symposium, Journal of ASTM International Vol. 5 No. 10, “Skiing Helmets” and Evaluation of the Potential to Reduce Head Injury,” US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, DC, 20207, Jan 1999. The main point of this research is even though helmet used has increased dramatically; fatalities have stayed the same or increased.
If Natasha Richardson had been wearing, a helmet, she would still be alive. The jury is out on this, but one who understands the issues (physicians) has said yes a helmet would have saved her life. See Could a Helmet Have Saved Natasha Richardson? Doc Wild Weighs In and Would a Helmet Have Saved Richardson? Maybe Not
A helmet will increase your chances of an injury. Some research supports this argument. The basis is risk homeostasis, which says that when humans feel safe they take greater Wearing a helmet makes you feel safe. Therefore, you may ski faster. See the research above.
People die of head injuries skiing. No if you hit a tree hard enough or fast enough to cause a head injury that will kill you, you are going to die of something. During the 2008-09 skis, season three fatalities were reported to people wearing helmets and they all died of blunt force trauma. Two people reportedly died of head injuries, one reporting head and other injuries and the other was not substantiated as coming from a source. All reports of fatalities from corner’s or physicians reported the cause of death as blunt force trauma or asphyxiation.
Wearing a helmet increases your risk to injury because you cannot here. With more skiers on the slopes, there is a greater chance of injury from not hearing an approaching rider. I have no idea and I cannot find any research about this subject. If this is true and it may be, then earphones and helmets may both lead to injuries.
I am telling you to not wear a helmet. NO! I am telling you to understand why you are choosing to wear a helmet. I am telling you that there is some evidence that says you may increase your chance of an injury and some research that shows that it may decrease your chance of an injury. There is no evidence that a helmet will keep you from dying. If you choose to wear a helmet, do so with an understanding of the risk of wearing and of not wearing a helmet.