Snowboarding injuries in children and adolescents

Am J Emerg Med. 1999 May;17(3):261-3. doi: 10.1016/s0735-6757(99)90121-3.


To study snowboarding injuries in children and adolescents, a 6-year retrospective study was conducted of patients 18 years old and younger admitted to a pediatric trauma center after snowboarding accidents. The study was designed to identify the most severely injured patients. Comparison was made to data from a recent comparable study of skiing injuries. Twenty-seven patients were identified, all but one male and none under 10 years old. Nineteen were injured in a fall, 6 collided with a stationary object, one collided with a skier, and in one case the mechanism of injury was unclear. The average pediatric trauma score was 10.5, and the average injury severity score 10.2. Most of the 12 head injuries were minor. Most extremity fractures were to the upper extremity. There were two lumbar vertebral burst fractures, suggesting that the sport may predispose to this injury. There were no deaths. When compared with skiing, in snowboarding the overall severity of injury is lower, collision is a less common mechanism of injury and results in less serious injury, head injuries are less severe, the relative frequency of upper extremity fracture is higher, abdominal injuries are caused by falls rather than collisions, and facial injuries are less common. These differences are predictable on the basis of differences in the equipment. However, it is too early to say that snowboarding has less potential for life-threatening injury than skiing. Expected changes in the mix of participants, with an increase in the average skill level over time, may well result in different patterns, mechanisms, and severity of injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / classification*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Skiing / injuries*