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J Orthop Sci. 2004;9(3):225-9.

Clinical features of snowboarding injuries.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Toyama Red Cross Hospital, 2-1-58 Ushijimahonmachi, Toyama 930-0859, Japan.


A retrospective study of 3102 injured snowboarders from 1992 to 1999 was undertaken using the medical records and questionnaires the patients had been asked to complete at the time of consultation. These cases represent all the injuries with medical treatment that occurred in five skiing and snowboarding resorts in the Nagano area. The total number of the injuries was 3243. The number of patients each year rapidly increased over the eight seasons. In descending order, the injuries were seen in the head and face, left upper extremity, spine, chest and abdomen, left lower extremity, right upper extremity, and right lower extremity. The number of head and face injuries was 829 (25%) followed by 768 (24%) left upper extremity injuries. With regard to the type of injury, fracture was the most frequent injury. There were 998 fractures, of which 625 were fractures of the upper extremity. Contusions were frequent on the head, face, chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Lacerations were frequent on the head and face. Sprains were frequent in the lower extremities, and dislocations were seen frequently in the upper extremities. The sharp increase in the number of patients was thought to reflect the increase in the population of snowboarders in Japan. The reason for the high concentration of injuries to the head and upper extremity is thought to derive from the characteristic riding form of snowboarding, with both legs fixed to one short, wide board. To decrease the injuries and to develop snowboarding as a safe and exciting sport, snowboarders, instructors, slope managers, and equipment manufacturers must comprehend the patterns of snowboarding injuries and cooperate to devise preventive measures.

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