Headlines about Canada ski injuries is very misleading.

Actual report does not take into account participants and uses skiing just to get press, not because it is the worst sport.

This study, when you read the headline implies one idea: Skiing is dangerous. When you read the article, you get a completely reverse opinion of what the study reports. More importantly, the study is being used for an agenda rather than a way to either reduce or study injuries.

The study looked at winter sports injuries in Canada. It is a simple study showing how many hospital visits occurred each winter based on various activities. From the study, the headlines looked at these two groups of numbers.

        Slopes-Related Injuries                                 2,300

        Hockey Players                                           1,114

The headline then stated that slope injuries were twice as dangerous as hockey. Right off the bat, though you see an issue. This is just a total number of hospital visits. It means nothing, unless you know how many people participated in the sport or how many hour’s participants spent on the sport. Unless, and it very well may be possible, the number of people skiing and boarding in Canada equaled the number of people playing hockey, then the numbers really don’t point to anything. The numbers definitely do not point out that skiing and boarding is twice as dangerous as hockey.

After some more reading, more numbers pop to the surface.

        Snowmobiling                                             1,126

        Ice Skating                                                 889

        Tobogganing                                               171

Snowmobiling creates more hospital stays than hockey. However, hockey is the measurement that the criteria are compared to. Is this because everyone in Canada understands the real risks of hockey? Or is hockey perceived as a dangerous sport.

If the cause for the headline is the latter, then the headline was just made to get your attention. Snowmobiling is half as dangerous as skiing and riding so why was snowmobiling not used as the comparison.

Then the bomb shell drops.  All of these sports combined do not make up 10% of the other winter sports injuries.

However, the hospitalization numbers pale in comparison to people who were simply injured by winter activities.

In Ontario alone, the report says, there were more than 45,000 emergency department visits — 285 a day — due to winter activities in 2010-2011.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Fortin says, given that many of the hurt would have visited family doctors, walk-in clinics or just suffered through their injuries.

If you dig through the article, you gather these stats.

Slopes-Related Injuries (Skiing/Boarding)




Hockey Players


Ice Skating






5600 injuries in five sports nationwide are nothing compared to 45000 in just one city alone. Twenty days in Ontario and those injuries exceed the ones the false headline was blaring about.

There were some relevant points that could be pulled from the report.

1.   Injuries remained relatively constant over the five years of the report for all five sports.

a.   However, this number still has more value if compared to the overall number of participants. If participating went up or down that changes the fact the injuries were constant.

2.   The age group with the largest number of injuries was young males between the ages of 10 and 19.

3.   33% of the head injuries in all five sports came from skiing and snowboarding.

a.   There were 759 head injuries over the past five years on the slopes showing a decrease in head injuries…. Maybe.

So? Think

You cannot take headlines at face value. EVEN MINE! Headlines get you to read the article, and that is their sole purposes. You have to understand what the article is trying to say, where the information that makes up the article comes from and maybe, what is the writer trying to accomplish.

See Skiing injuries lead to twice as many hospital stays as hockey, new data shows

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One Comment on “Headlines about Canada ski injuries is very misleading.”

  1. Jon Heshka says:

    Hi Jim. Thanks for raising this issue. The helmet debate in Canada borders on hysteria. The CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) states there are 135 ski hill head injury hospitalizations per year. If we take into account the 19.3 million Canadian skier days, this translates to a 0.001% hospitalization rate which illustrates the relative safety of skiing and boarding. I think a little perspective is in order.


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