Snowboarding injuries : current trends and future directions

Sports Med. 2004;34(2):133-9. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200434020-00006.


Snowboarding has become one of the premier alpine sports. The past decade has seen the popularity of snowboarding increase dramatically and the recent Winter Olympic Games at Salt Lake City, USA, showcased the strong visual appeal of the sport and the youth-oriented lifestyle and culture that accompanies it. The injury profile of the sport has also undergone change along with technological advances in boot and binding systems and the changing demographics of the sports participants. Central to the development of injury-prevention strategies is knowledge of the profile of injuries that occur, understanding those who are at particular risk and, if possible, the biomechanical factors involved in each injury type. Snowboarding was initially considered a dangerous, uncontrolled, alpine sport - an opinion based on little or no scientific evidence. That evidence has rapidly grown over the past decade and we now know that snowboard injury rates are no different to those in skiing; however, the injury profile is different. The purpose of this review is to give some perspective to the current snowboard injury literature. It discusses not only the demographic profile of those injured and the type of injuries that occur, but also gives some insight into the progress that has occurred in determining the impact of specific prevention strategies, such as splints to prevent injuries to the wrist/forearm. The next decade will also see a greater understanding of the biomechanical forces involved in snowboard injuries, which may well impact on future technological advances. As the literature indicates, however, some things will not change, e.g. injuries are more likely to occur in beginners and lessons need to be reinforced as a fundamental aspect of any injury-prevention strategy.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Skiing / injuries*