Skiing and snowboarding head injuries could be increasing despite the growing use of helmets on the hill.
A study released Monday at the annual Scientific Assembly of the American College of Emergency Physicians in Denver shows the number of head injuries reported by skiers and snowboarders in 100 national emergency rooms grew 60 percent between 2004 and 2010. Helmet use in that period climbed from less than 25 percent of all skiers and snowboarders to more than 60 percent in the 2010-11 ski season.
"Skiing and snowboarding-related head injuries requiring emergency care have increased at a higher rate than all other ski and snowboard injuries, despite an increase in helmet use," said Mark Christensen, one of the study's authors, in a statement.
The Western Michigan University School of Medicine study of six ski seasons estimated that the number of ski-related head injuries grew from 9,308 in 2004-05 to 14,927 in 2009-10 while the occurrence of other ski injuries remained steady.
But the study's sample showed only one-third of people admitted to emergency rooms with skiing-related head injuries were wearing helmets, indicating that helmeted skiers and snowboarders were less likely to injure their heads.
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