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February 14, 1986

Prevention of Head Injuries in Skiing: Mechanisms, Experimental Study, and Prevention

JAMA. 1986;255(6):825. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370060143033

Fortunately, most falls in downhill skiing do not cause noteworthy trauma. Accidents do occur, however, and keep ski patrol members, physicians, and hospitals in major winter-sport areas busy throughout the ski season. This fact is documented by half of the 66 references cited in this book.

Prior to the late 1970s, reports of severe head injuries were rare. But in recent years, as the author clearly shows, the risk of severe trauma to the head has greatly increased. According to a cited statistical survey of skiing accidents in the Tyrolean Alps, covering the period from 1981 to 1983, injuries to the limbs have decreased from 72.4% to 62.8% while injuries to the shoulder have risen from 2.3% to 11.4% and those to the head from 10.6% to 12.2%. The improvements in boot and ski binding design are mentioned as a contributing factor in reducing injuries to the extremities while, on