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Increasing snowboarder injuries call for use of helmets

One of the biggest and most comprehensive studies of snow-related accidents has revealed a significant increase in serious snowboarding injuries and has prompted experts and healthcare professionals alike to renew calls for the wearing of helmets as standard by snowboarders.

The study, which investigated more than 5,000 accidents in Victoria, South Australia, has also been submitted into a medical journal for publication.

The research, carried out by the Federation University Australia covers the period between 2003 and 2012 and shows a 170% increase in emergency department presentations for snowboarders and a 100% increase in hospital-related injuries.

Apparently men are more accident-prone, with over 64% of the survey being recorded as injured, and 52% through snowboarding accidents – women snowboarders only made up for 34% of the study, suggesting that they are either safer sportspeople, or just prefer to ski.

“Males like risk-taking sports, they like the sense of adventure and they like to be challenged even in the light of possibly getting injured which might make it more appealing as well,” Dr Siesmaa from the Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention, said. “The 15 to 24 age group make up about a quarter of the participation of everyone but they are injured at a higher rate than they participate, which would signify they are participating at a riskier level. Males probably push the limits a little bit more than females.”

The study also showed that snowboarders were more likely to sustain upper extremity injuries (54% of their injuries) due to having falls on outstretched arms. By comparison skiers were more likely to suffer lower extremity injuries (47%). Fractures accounted for almost half (46%) of injuries with 62% of people with these injuries hospitalised. Some 40% sustained dislocation and soft tissue injuries with more than a third (3%) ending up hospitalised. Head and spine injuries were less common at 7% but were likely to be more serious with 80 per cent of them requiring the individual to be hospitalised.

The sheer rise in injured winter sports participants highlights the importance of travel insurance amongst those heading abroad to hit the slopes. Insurancewith offers a huge range of policies for affordable premiums which cover for up to £10 million worth of emergency medical expenses – something you’d want to be covered for if you fall ill or have an accident during your holiday.

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