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Can J Public Health. 2003 Nov-Dec;94(6):458-62.

Trends in emergency department reported head and neck injuries among skiers and snowboarders.

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Joint Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal, QC.



Reports from the U.S. suggest increases in the proportion and rate of head and neck injuries in skiers and snowboarders. It is important to determine if the same is true in Canada.


Skiers and snowboarders (< 18 years) presenting to 16 selected emergency departments from 1991 to 1999 were assigned one body region of injury in the following order: i) brain and spine-spinal cord, ii) head and neck, iii) face, iv) other body region (i.e., controls). Crude and adjusted (age, gender, helmet use and hospital admission) odds ratios indicating the proportion of head, brain, face, and neck injury relative to controls by calendar year were estimated. Injury rates were examined for 12 to 17 year olds over the last 4 years of the study.


Compared with 1997-1999, there was a lower proportion of skier head injuries from 1991-93 (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.16; 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.09-0.30) and from 1995-97 (AOR = 0.71; 95% CI = 0.49-1.04). The proportion of skier brain injuries was lower from 1993-95 (AOR = 0.69; 95% CI = 0.44-1.07) and from 1995-97 (AOR = 0.56; 95% CI: 0.35-0.91). In snowboarders, however, compared with 1997-99, there was evidence that although the proportion of head injuries was lower from 1991-93 (AOR = 0.19; 95% CI = 0.05-0.80), the opposite was true for facial injuries. For 12 to 17 year olds, skier brain and snowboarder head and neck injury rates increased from 1995-99.


The results suggest that head and brain injuries in skiers and head and neck injuries in snowboarders may be increasing, particularly in adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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