Monday, April 6, 2009

Helmet Head- Put A Lid On It

Many of you probably heard about the incident in the news that, more than likely, made ski and snowboarding helmet sales go up. Though hindsight is 20/20, these sort of incidents will naturally bring up the discussion of helmet use. People argue that a helmet could have made the difference in this accident, so here comes the question... should I wear a helmet? A couple of weeks ago Eric, Keeley, Traves and I took a trip up to sugar bowl. There was a girl in our group lesson who wore a helmet due to a prior accident. When she was young her parents took her to the Alps to go skiing. She fell, hit her head, and lost her memory for a few days. So now on the bunny slope, even in a group lesson, she wears a helmet.

Andrew Davila looking cool in his helmet at Sugar Bowl

I 've never put much thought to helmet wearing before now, but recently Eric and I purchased new helmets. In my younger days I thought helmets were stupid looking and I never wanted to wear one. Now I'm beginning to understand that a helmet could save a life. Even beginners fall on the easiest terrain and can become injured. Although having an accident like that is rare, it could happen to anyone. When planning to back country ski I think a helmet is a necessity, but what about on the bunny slope? I'm starting to see how they make sense all the time. I guess it's just because you don't see a lot of people wearing them on the slopes. Most people rely on their health insurance to save them.

Eric skiing with his new helmet

I went on Wikipedia to see if I could find any interesting facts about ski helmets, but there wasn't much there. I did find, however, that some people criticize helmets for having an "increased likeliness that wearers might injure others in an accident because of the hard material."- HA! It goes on to say that a wearer will also have limited visibility, limited ability to hear others, and people will ski faster when wearing one. There is also a quote by a Dr. Shealy from Rochester Institute of Technology. He says " There is no evidence they reduce fatalities, we are up to 40 percent usage, but there has been no change in fatalities in a 10-year period." I used my helmet the last time we went skiing, and let me tell you, it was great. My visibility was fine, I took off the ear muffs so I could hear everything, and I definitely don't go any faster just because I have one on. I'm still a super-slow-safety-skier, and proud of it.

Amber being a super-slow-safety-skier

Reading some other blogs and feeds about helmets helped me understand how important they really are, and wearing one confirmed it even more. Even though some people criticize their ability, most skiers seem to find them helpful. Helmets might not change the mortality rate of skiers, but they probably help the injury rate. Head injuries are the more common injury that can be obtained while skiing, according to some research I've done. Why not wear them? You wear a helmet when riding a bike, a motorcycle, and out door rock climbing. So why wouldn't you wear one skiing?

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