Boarder belly: splenic injuries resulting from ski and snowboarding accidents

Emerg Med Australas. 2005 Apr;17(2):157-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-6723.2005.00706.x.


Objective: Snowboarding has increased in popularity worldwide, with an associated increase in injuries suffered by its participants with a significant proportion of these injuries being severe. We sought to understand the risk of sustaining a splenic injury in snowboarders as compared to skiers, and whether there are noteworthy differences in their characteristics at hospital admission.

Methods: A 10-year retrospective review was conducted on patients with splenic injury resulting from snowboarding or skiing, who were admitted to the principle ED and referral hospital servicing several busy downhill skiing areas. Population-based injury rates were calculated for our catchment area, using data provided by the Canadian Ski Council.

Results: Controlling for gender, snowboarders were six times more likely to sustain a splenic injury than skiers (P < 0.0001). The risk of splenic injury was 21.7 times greater for male snowboarders than for female snowboarders (P = 0.002). By contrast, no gender differences were observed for skiers. Snowboarders admitted to hospital with a splenic injury were significantly younger, more likely to present with an isolated injury and to required a shorter hospital stay, as compared to skiers.

Conclusion: The risk of sustaining an injury of the spleen resulting from blunt abdominal trauma while snowboarding is significantly greater than the risk while downhill skiing. Male snowboarders have a significantly higher risk of splenic injury than female snowboarders. In the majority of cases, snowboarders sustained their injuries as a result of falls or jumps.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons
  • Sex Distribution
  • Skiing / injuries*
  • Skiing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spleen / injuries*
  • Spleen / surgery
  • Splenectomy / statistics & numerical data
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / epidemiology*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery