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Although advanced design in skis, boots and bindings have caused a significant reduction of injury rates; about 5 to 10 percent of all serious ski injuries involve the head. This could explain the recent popularity of ski helmets, since less than a decade ago, hardly anyone wore one. Perhaps it's the number of “celebrity head injuries” that caused skiers and snowboarders to think twice about protective head gear. Thus, it should come as no surprise that ski helmet sales had a significant jump during the 1999, 2000 season, which was the year that over 540, 000 helmets were sold.
In most cases, the worst head injuries occur from close encounters with trees. As you probably know, trees are not noted for their ability to get out of your way when you approach them. In many cases, a helmet could have eliminated or reduced the severity of these fatal injuries. All current helmets are light, warm and come in cool colors. If you have a tendency to to be too hot in a helmet make sure to check out the ones with adjustable vents, so there are no excuses for not wearing one!
This information has been backed up by research performed by Stewart Levy, M.D. Levy surveyed 261 skiers and snowboarders that were admitted to Saint Anthony's Hospital in Denver for brain injuries. Only 13 of those who suffered these injuries were wearing helmets. Additionally, the injuries suffered by the helmet wearers were minor concussions. All 13 patients made a full recovery. In contrast, those who were not wearing helmets suffered severe injuries such as cerebral contusions, subdural hematomas or comas. Four percent of those who were injured died.
In addition to Levy's research, a study performed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also confirmed that helmets could protect against 44 percent of head injuries among all skiers and boarders and up to 53 percent of those head injuries among children up to age 15 (high school racers are required to wear helmets with jaw guards). This study has been endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the CSPC.