Analysis of Injury Mechanisms in Head Injuries in Skiers and Snowboarders

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PurposeMechanisms of injury and description of head impacts leading to traumatic brain injury (TBI) in skiers and snowboarders have not been extensively documented. We investigate snow sport crashes leading to TBI 1) to identify typical mechanisms leading to TBI to better target prevention measures and 2) to identify the injury mechanisms and the head impact conditions.MethodsThe subjects were skiers and snowboarders diagnosed of TBI and admitted between 2013 and 2015 to one of the 15 medical offices and three hospital centers involved in the study. The survey includes the description of the patients (age, sex, practice, skill level, and helmet use), the crash (type, location, estimated speed, causes, and fall description), and the injuries sustained (symptoms, head trauma scores, and other injuries). Sketches were used to describe the crash and impact locations. Clustering methods were used to distinguish profiles of injured participants.ResultsA total of 295 skiers and 71 snowboarders were interviewed. The most frequent type of mechanism was falls (54%), followed by collision between users (18%) and jumps (15%). Collision with obstacle (13%) caused the most serious TBI. Three categories of patients were identified. First, men age 16–25 yr are more involved in crash at high speed or in connection with a jump. Second, women, children (<16 yr), and beginners are particularly injured in collisions between users. Third, those older than 50 yr, usually nonhelmeted, are frequently involved in falls. Ten crash scenarios were identified. Falling head first is the most frequent of skiers’ falls (28%).ConclusionCrash scenarios leading to TBI were identified and associated with profiles of injured participants. Those results should help to better target TBI prevention and protection campaigns.

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