Snowboarding Ups Risk on Ski Slopes
Biloine W. Young • Tue, February 26th, 2013
To snowboard or to disallow snowboarding is the question for ski resorts in the West. Now researchers at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center have examined injury data from the Mogul Medical Clinic at Taos Ski Valley from the 2006-2007 through 2009-2010 seasons and found that there were more accidents when snowboarding was permitted.
Injury rates rose from 206.7 per 100,000 mountain visits before snowboarding to 233.8 per 100,000 with snowboarders. The relative risk ratio for injured persons was 1.131, which represented a 13.1% increased risk for injury (IRI) (95% CI, 3.5%-23.6%) after the ban was lifted.
According to a report on Helio.com, upper extremity injuries and head/neck injuries increased when data included snowboarders, while lower extremity injuries remained constant. Snowboard injuries included distal radius fractures (27.7%), wrist sprains (9.9%), closed head injuries (9.6%) and acromioclavicular separations (5.8%). ACL tears (16.7%), knee sprains (10.3%) and closed head injuries (5.6%) were the most common skier injuries.
Researchers also reported that, after Taos allowed snowboarders, the median age of injured persons decreased from 39 years to 31 years. Injury percentages by sex did not change with snowboarding; females continued to account for 45% of all injuries.
David A. Rust, M.D., department of orthopedics and rehabilitation, University of New Mexico, told Healio.com. “The injury patterns between the two sports are different, and the overall impact that snowboarders have on mountain safety, while real, is small when you consider there are more people and more risk-taking young athletes on the mountain. People who have been defending the ‘ski only’ resorts now have a study that shows a small, but statistically significant advantage to maintaining their stance against allowing snowboarders on the mountain.”