Background: Snowboarding injuries have become more common with the remarkable increase in the sport's popularity. However, although there are many reports of orthopedic injuries caused by snowboarding, there are few reports on injuries to the chest. In this study, we attempted to identify the characteristics of snowboarding injuries of the chest in comparison with alpine skiing injuries.
Methods: Between December of 1988 and April of 1997, 1,579 and 9,108 patients were treated for snowboarding and skiing injuries, respectively. All patients were initially examined by emergency physicians who used chest x-ray film. Patients with known or suspected chest injuries were further examined by using chest computed tomography and ultrasonography by thoracic and general surgeons. A total of 96 snowboarding patients and 247 skiing patients had chest injuries.
Results: The chest injuries among snowboarders accounted for 6.1% of all injuries compared with only 2.7% amongst skiers. Snowboarders with chest injuries were younger, more often beginners, and more frequently occurred during the afternoon than skiers. Several distinct patterns of injury were noted among these two groups. As the cause of injury, a riding mistake during jumping was significantly higher for snowboarders (50.0%) than for skiers (0%). The incidence of rib fracture during snowboarding (55.2%) was significantly higher than during skiing (41.3%). There were no mortalities in either group.
Conclusion: A riding mistake during improper jumping may be the primary cause of chest snowboarding injuries. Furthermore, snowboarders are much more likely to injure the chest, particularly by rib fractures, than skiers.