Purpose: To investigate injuries among children and adolescents who participate in downhill sports.
Methods: We collected trauma registry data (January 1999-May 2006) from a level 1 pediatric trauma center with an average snowfall of 28 in (71 cm)/y. Cases were analyzed for injury mechanism, injury type, organ injured, Injury Severity Score, age, sex, and whether or not an operation was required.
Results: There were 57 snowboarders and 22 skiers admitted during the study period. Forty-one (72%) of snowboarders and 16 (73%) of skiers required operations; 32 (56%) of snowboarders and 9 (41%) of skiers sustained fractures; and 14 (25%) of snowboarders and 6 (27%) of skiers sustained abdominal injuries. (P = NS for all comparisons). Serious splenic injuries were more common in snowboarders (14% vs 4%), but the difference was not statistically significant. All skiing injuries occurred at recreational facilities (commercial skiing areas), whereas 12% of snowboard injuries occurred at home, other residence, or public parks (P = .08). The most striking finding is the rising number of snowboarding injuries and the relatively stable rate of skiing injuries (see graph).
Conclusions: As the popularity of snowboarding rises, snowboarding injuries in children are increasing. Pediatric surgeons should be wary of the "snowboard spleen."