Objective: A study of major skiing injuries in children and adolescents. DESIGN AND MATERIALS AND METHODS: A 5-year retrospective study of patients 18 years old and under admitted to a pediatric trauma center after skiing accidents. A follow-up questionnaire was used to obtain additional information.
Measurements and main results: Thirty-eight patients, of which 34 were male. Age range was 5 to 18 years. Fifty-eight percent of the accidents were collisions with stationary objects. Alcohol and drugs were not implicated. Helmet use was negligible. Head injuries, especially skull fractures, were very common (27), followed by extremity fractures (13), facial fractures (8), and abdominal (6), thoracic (5), and spinal injuries (2). One third had multiple injuries. The average cost was $22,000. There were no deaths, but 26% had long-term sequelae. The skill breakdown was 26% beginner, 29% intermediate, 45% advanced. Willingness to accept responsibility for the accident correlated inversely with skill level.
Conclusions: Prevention efforts must target excessive speed and loss of control. Beginners must be well supervised on appropriate terrain. The frequency of skull fractures suggests that helmet use should be encouraged for young recreational skiers.