Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Study: helmet won't help skier vs. tree. But wear one anyway

The AP ran a story today detailing how ski helmets won't necessarily protect skiers during fatal accidents because most deaths (68%) are caused by a high-speed impact with a fixed object (usually a tree), resulting in chest and torso injuries.
Ski accident expert Jasper Shealy told the AP "Frankly, you're going to need more than a helmet to prevent that fatality."

True. But that doesn't mean a helmet is a bad idea. Beyond fatalities, there are all sorts of non-lethal ways you can bump your head on the slopes. A good, stiff tree branch to the noggin won't send you to the hospital, but it could send you home with a serious lump. Same is true with a ski or pole.

A few weeks ago I hit myself in the back of the head with my ski during an unplanned tumble (sorry, no video) and was fine because I had my helmet on. I often emerge from a tree skiing run with scrapes on my helmet, but none on my head.

Plus, helmets are warm.
There's no reason not to have one, even if it won't help in event of that final battle with Mr. Spruce.

By the way, for all you social trend watchers out there who have noted that people didn't used to wear helmets for anything, and they now show up in all kinds of athletic pursuits, I ask you, what is the next activity where helmets will become chic?

My wife says the downhill portion of the Pikes Peak Ascent.


Dena Rosenberry said...

I came away seeing stars instead of seeing blood 2 weeks ago at Crested Butte because I had a helmet on. I was strapping in and another boarder skidding up, lost control, and clonked my head with his board. Wouldn't have killed me, but who needs more stitches or another concussion?

The helmet was cheaper, too, I'm sure!

Anonymous said...

Helmets severly limit your hearing not allowing you to hear whumping sounds as the snowpack settles. It also makes it nearly impossible to hear your ski partner warning you about the avalanche that is coming down on you.

Dena Rosenberry said...

I suppose that's true. I don't know.

I didn't notice altered hearing, but I'm new to the game.

Dave Philipps said...

Can't hear your ski partner? What are you wearing a fighter pilot helmet? If you can't hear with your helmet on, maybe you're not wearing the right type.
Besides, the vast majority of skiers are (at least for now) frontcountry. So "whumping" is beside the point.

P.S. What's with all these negative comments we've been having on the ol' blog? Is it one crank anonymously posting several times?

Biker Betty said...

Helmet use in sports is always such a hot issue. I've seen people on both sides get hot-headed about it. Personally, my family & I use them in all sports where they are available: Skiing, rock climbing, bicycling, and motorcycling.

Those against helmets always argue that they don't help in the bad accident. That may be true, but they help tremendously in the "not so bad" accidents. For my family and I, we figure why take the risk?

Dena Rosenberry said...

Biker Betty, you are so right. I'm probably keen to use one while snowboarding because I grew up wearing helmets while dirt biking and skateboarding. Seems the safer bet to me.

Zen said...

I think people should wear helmets in the mosh pit.

Dave Philipps said...

Dude man, Zen, that is like, so uncool.