Canadian researchers have analyzed a decade’s worth of accidents involving snowboarders and skiers in Quebec, concluding that helmets do not increase neck injuries. In slightly more than a quarter of nearly 3,000 neck injuries, the injured person had worn a helmet during the mishap. By contrast, only about one-fifth of those who had sustained injuries below the neck had worn one.
But after accounting for other factors such as skill, terrain and weather conditions, the increased risk of wearing a helmet disappeared. This held true even in young children, whose disproportionately large heads would make them extra susceptible to neck injuries. The results of the study were published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, online April 20, 2010.