A new study has found that the increased use of helmets while skiing and snowboarding has reduced the overall number of head injuries but not traumatic ones that cause harm. According to In The Snow, the number one risk of fatality or severe trauma on the slopes is head injury, which accounts for three to fifteen percent of skier related injury. According to researchers, the study poses some significant questions to helmet manufactures.
The study was conducted by the Centre de recherche de l’HSCM in Montréal and published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. Investigators conducted trials at thirty French ski resorts between 2012 and 2014 with two sets of participants, 1,425 with traumatic brain injuries and 1,386 with other head injuries. This group was compared to two sets of control studies where 2,145 participants did not suffer an injury and 40,288 suffered some other bodily injury.
Another interesting detail that was found by the study was the risk a skier with a helmet would take versus the risk a skier would take without a helmet. Skiers that wore helmets took less risk while skiers that did not wear helmets assumed more risk. This finding is a significant headwind to the ‘risk compensation theory’, which suggests that people that are protected by safety equipment are more inclined to assume risk.