Spinal and head injuries account for less than 10% of skiing injuries. These injuries are usually due to a fall or a collision (with trees, lift towers or other skiers) or due to chair lift accidents. Head and spine injuries tend to occur more often in confident male skiers. Speed is the predominant factor in head and spinal injuries.
The research evidence on the effectiveness of helmets in the reduction of injury is mixed. During low velocity collisions in adults they have been shown to reduce the incidence of minor concussions. However, at higher velocities their use has not been so effective, as the energy and trauma is often transmitted to the spine, where injuries are just as catastrophic. This is particularly true in children who don't have the musculature to support the weight of a helmet and the strain on the neck becomes too great.
All head injuries should be assessed by a doctor. Patients with a seemingly mild head injury can deteriorate rapidly so it is important that they get swift medical attention and are monitored closely for the 48 hours that follow.
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