Study shows that head injuries are on the rise on the slopes even though more people are wearing helmets

Risk Homeostasis?

A study presented at the American College of Emergency Physicians(ACEP) showed that even with the increased use of helmets on ski slopes head injuries had

PARK CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 01: Alexandre Bilode...

increased. Overall injuries on the slopes have remained constant during the same period of time.

The study was based on a review of reports to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission‘s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) Overall helmet use increased from 36.7% to 57.99% during the study period.

The study looked at 68,761 head injuries during the 2004 through 2010 ski seasons. Males represented 68.8% of the injuries, snowboarders 57.9%, and riders between the ages of 11-017 representing 47.7%.

The one difference in the study was children under 10 years old, which showed a decrease in hade injuries dropping from 11.7% to 4.6%.

One brought out by the study was helmets are only good for impacts of 12-15 miles per hour. Most people ski and board faster than that. The true value of a helmet, 12-15 mph of impact protection should be put out there so more people understand what a helmet will and will not do. People are sold helmets with the idea that they will prevent head injuries. They only will prevent injuries in that narrow range of 0-15 mph; over that speed, you probably are going to have an injury.

There were two different ideas put forth as two why head injuries increased. The one idea with the least space about it was Risk Homeostasis or Target Risk. The other was:

My assumptions are that those increases parallel the increase in terrain park use and the level of difficulty and risk in these sports over the last decade,” Christensen said, “and also that we’re simply seeing more people reporting head injuries because there’s been more education and awareness around them.

However, Risk Homeostasiswill also support the greater use of terrain parks and the increased level of difficult and increased risk undertaken by skiers and riders.

English: Freestyle skiing jump

English: Freestyle skiing jump (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do Something

If you sell helmets tell people the truth. Helmets will reduce some head injuries. Helmets probably will not save your life because if you hit something hard enough to cause brain damage that a helmet will protect you from; you are going to receive other injuries that may kill you.

If you wear a helmet understand what your helmet will and will not do to protect your head.

See Head injuries on rise despite helmets

For additional articles on Risk Homeostasis see:

Risk homeostasis theory and traffic accidents: propositions, deductions and discussion of dissension in recent reactions

The Theory of Risk Homeostasis: Implications for Safety and Health

Target Risk: Dealing with the danger of death, disease and damage in everyday decisions

For additional articles on Helmets see:

A helmet manufacture understands the issues(Uvex, Mouthguards)          http://rec-law.us/xpxX6n

A new idea that makes sense in helmets: the Bern Hard Hat                         http://rec-law.us/yPerOd

Does being safe make us stupid? Studies say yes.                                          http://rec-law.us/Ao5BBD

Great article on why helmet laws are stupid                                                       http://rec-law.us/zeOaNH

Great editorial questioning why we need laws to “protect” us from ourselves.         http://rec-law.us/Ayswbo

Helmet death ignited by misconception and famous personalities                http://rec-law.us/wfa0ho

Helmets do not increase risk of a neck injury when skiing                              http://rec-law.us/wPOUiM

Helmets: why cycling, skiing, skateboarding helmets don’t work                   http://rec-law.us/RVsgkV

More information over the debate about ski helmets: Ski Helmets ineffective crashes were the wear is going faster than 12 miles per

PARK CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 01: Ryan St Onge of ...

hour                                                                     http://rec-law.us/z4CLkE

National Sporting Goods Association reports that Helmet use at US Ski Areas increased during the 2009-10 ski season                                                                                                 http://rec-law.us/zZTzqa

OSHA Officially recommending helmets for ski area employees                   http://rec-law.us/xo5yio

Other Voice on the Helmet Debate                                                                       http://rec-law.us/AzaU9Q

Recent UK poll shows that 10% of cyclists would quite biking if there was a compulsory helmet law.            http://rec-law.us/t1ByWk

Skiing/Boarding Helmets and what is the correct message                             http://rec-law.us/AzeCpS

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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When we try and prevent accidents are creating them?

Some traffic studies show eliminating signs, curbs, and road lines actually substantially decreases accidents

This Wired article discusses ways to decrease traffic accidents as well as pedestrian and bike interaction. The basis of the article is when we tell people how to

Cycling on Dutch alleys.

drive, we allow them to drive to that limit. When we force drivers to pay attention, they slow down and pay attention.

Examples in the article include a roundabout with 20,000 vehicles plus pedestrians and cyclists going through the intersection each day with no signs. There is also no honking no screeching brakes and no yelling. By eliminating signs, crosswalks and lanes the drivers are forced to pay attention and watch for each other.

The drivers slow to gauge the intentions of crossing bicyclists and walkers. Negotiations over right-of-way are made through fleeting eye contact. Remarkably, traffic moves smoothly around the circle with hardly a brake screeching, horn honking, or obscene gesture.

A town in Denmark eliminated the signs and signals at an intersection and dropped fatalities at the intersection from three to zero. In England, center lanes were removed from roadways and accidents decreased by 35%.

When you tell drivers how to drive, they then ignore pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. If you force them to pay attention because no one is telling them what to do (or not to pay attention), there are fewer accidents.

Are we putting people at risk by trying to keep them safe?

By telling someone what to do, how to do it, and what speed to do it at, are we taking away from them the “desire” to watch out for others. If you don’t have to watch for people, because we tell you, you don’t have to, do you quit watching?

These studies tend to indicate that.

A study that is frequently cited when discussing Risk Homeostasis is accident rates before and after putting antilock brakes on cabs. Once the brakes were installed the cabbies drove faster and shortened their stopping distance.

If we don’t have to think about safety do we ignore it?

Is the corollary true? Are we creating expectations of safety where none exist? Do crossing walks and curbs create a feeling of safety in pedestrians? Do bike lanes make cyclists feel safe? Do bike lanes make drivers believe that cyclists are safer? A study in England showed that cyclists in bike lanes were crowded more by cars. Another study showed that when cyclists wore helmets, cars and trucks gave the cyclists less room when passing.

Does this discussion extend to all parts of life?

English: Bicycle sharrows (shared-lane marking...

Danger signs, fencing, no trespassing signs are needed to protect us from our own stupidity?

I always love signs that are obviously pointing out dangers to young children…..who can’t read.

Is litigation to make the world safer doing just the opposite?

For other studies on the issue of getting stupider see: Does being safe make us stupid? Studies say yes.

To read the article see: Roads Gone Wild

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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