Hockey is often portrayed as Canada’s most dangerous winter pastime, with a recent focus on head injuries such as concussions. But a study published by the Canadian Institute for Health Information suggests that a family trip to a ski hill is more likely to end in injury than lacing up skates and stepping onto an ice surface.
The study showed that 2010-11 saw 2,329 hospital admissions in Canada relating to a skiing or snowboarding fall or crash, about twice as many as the 1,114 hockey-related hospitalizations. Half of those who suffered hockey injuries and about a third of the skiing and snowboarding injuries were ages 10-19, with most in the age group being boys.
There were 415 Canadians hospitalized with head injuries in 2010-11 relating to a winter sport or recreational activity, a number that has been pretty consistent since 2006-07. Surprisingly, nearly a third of those head injuries occurred while skiing or snowboarding.
The Canadian Standards Association did announce a skiing and snowboarding standard in March 2009, manufacturers have yet to make a helmet up to the standard. Many companies instead make helmets to meet American and European standards or self-regulate. And many provinces across Canada have not made helmet use mandatory because of the lack of helmets made up to the CSA standard.
Despite the lack of CSA approved helmets, the Nova Scotia government announced plans last month to make helmets mandatory in the 2012-13 skiing season. The law would see skiers who don’t comply facing a $250 fine.