FRIDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- There is convincing evidence
that helmets help protect downhill skiers and snowboarders from
head injuries, but more needs to be done to encourage helmet use,
Among the ways to do that are to make sure helmets are easy to
rent or to include them in skiing packages, suggested Gerhard Ruedl
and colleagues from the sport science department at University of
Innsbruck in Austria.
A surge of interest in ski helmets occurred after some
high-profile skiing-related deaths in Europe and North America, the
authors wrote in an editorial published online Feb. 10 in
In one of those cases, actress Natasha Richardson died after she
suffered a traumatic head injury while skiing in March 2009. She
was not wearing a helmet.
A recent study found that ski helmets reduced head injuries by
35 percent overall and by 59 percent among children younger than 13
years of age, Ruedl and colleagues noted in a journal news
While there is a theory that helmet use may provide skiers with
a false sense of security and lead to riskier behavior, one study
found that rates of helmet use are higher in skilled skiers. This
suggests that "the use of a helmet is not necessarily associated
with a higher level of risk taking but primarily with a higher
level of skill," according to the authors of the editorial.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers
skiing safety tips.