Objective: To critically examine the literature on skiing and snowboarding injuries in children and adolescents.
Data sources: Searched English language articles from: Medline, SPORTDiscus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Current Contents, and HealthSTAR. The table of contents for Ski Trauma and Skiing Safety Series published by the American Society for Testing and Materials were also examined. MeSH headings included: Sports, Athletic Injuries, and Accidents. Keywords used within these headings were Skiing and/or Snowboarding with focus on children, adolescents, youth, students, or age group-related comparisons.
Main results: The patterns and rates of injury differed markedly by activity and study design. Most studies were case-series investigations providing little useful information on risk factors. Intrinsic risk factors included: lower ability, younger age, past injury, and female sex. Extrinsic risk factors were improper binding adjustment, no helmet, certain slope characteristics, and no wrist guards. The literature on the effect of activity, equipment ownership and lessons on injury risk was equivocal.
Conclusions: Suggestions for injury prevention include the use of helmets and wrist guards, participation on appropriate runs for ability level, proper fit and adjustment of bindings and other equipment, and taking lessons with the goal of increasing ability and learning hill etiquette. Many areas requiring further research are identified and discussed. New methodological approaches hold promise in advancing the field of ski and snowboard injury research.