Background: This study aims to describe the characteristics of skiing- and snowboarding-related injuries treated in U.S. emergency departments (EDs).
Methods: Skiing- and snowboarding-related injuries collected by the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System in 2002 were analyzed. Data regarding skiing and snowboarding participation were used to calculate injury rates by age group and activity (skiing versus snowboarding).
Results: An estimated 77,300 (95% CI = 11,600-143,000) skiing- and 62,000 (95% CI = 32,800-91,200) snowboarding-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital EDs in 2002. Wrist injuries (17.9%) and arm injuries (16.6%) among snowboarders and knee injuries (22.7%) among skiers were the most common injuries. The age groups that have the highest skiing-related injury rates were the 55-64 years (29.0 per 1,000 participants), the 65+ years (21.7 per 1,000 participants), and the 45-54 years (15.5 per 1,000 participants). The age groups that have the highest snowboarding-related injuries were the 10-13 years (15.9 per 1,000 participants), the 14-17 years (15.0 per 1,000 participants), and the 18-24 years (13.5 per 1,000 participants). Traumatic brain injury (TBI) rates were higher among older skiers, 55-64 years (2.15 per 1,000 participants), and younger skiers, 10-13 years (1.69 per 1,000 participants).
Conclusions: Our study is the first to demonstrate that older skiers are at highest risk for injury. Adolescents are at highest risk for snowboarding-related injury. Prevention of TBI should be a top injury control priority among skiers and snowboarders.