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Br J Sports Med. 2018 Jan;52(1):61-69. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017-098240. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Head injury mechanisms in FIS World Cup alpine and freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

Author information

1
Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.
2
Orthopaedic Department, Oslo University Hospital Ullevaal, Oslo, Norway.
3
Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Head injuries represent a concern in skiing and snowboarding, with traumatic brain injuries being the most common cause of death.

AIM:

To describe the mechanisms of head and face injuries among World Cup alpine and freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

METHODS:

We performed a qualitative analysis of videos obtained of head and face injuries reported through the International Ski Federation Injury Surveillance System during 10 World Cup seasons (2006-2016). We analysed 57 head impact injury videos (alpine n=29, snowboard n=13, freestyle n=15), first independently and subsequently in a consensus meeting.

RESULTS:

During the crash sequence, most athletes (84%) impacted the snow with the skis or board first, followed by the upper or lower extremities, buttocks/pelvis, back and, finally, the head. Alpine skiers had sideways (45%) and backwards pitching falls (35%), with impacts to the rear (38%) and side (35%) of the helmet. Freestyle skiers and snowboarders had backwards pitching falls (snowboard 77%, freestyle 53%), mainly with impacts to the rear of the helmet (snowboard 69%, freestyle 40%). There were three helmet ejections among alpine skiers (10% of cases), and 41% of alpine skiing injuries occurred due to inappropriate gate contact prior to falling. Athletes had one (47%) or two (28%) head impacts, and the first impact was the most severe (71%). Head impacts were mainly on snow (83%) on a downward slope (63%).

CONCLUSION:

This study has identified several characteristics of the mechanisms of head injuries, which may be addressed to reduce risk.

KEYWORDS:

alpine skiing; freestyle skiing; head; helmet; snowboarding

PMID:
29133295
DOI:
10.1136/bjsports-2017-098240
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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