Ski helmets, which have been gaining in popularity since several high profile skiing fatalities, got a boost from a Canadian medical journal last week.
The CMAJ (Canada Medical Association Journal) published an analysis of 12 studies of ski helmet use that concluded that helmets are effective in reducing the risk of head injury among skiers and snowboarders. The studies found no significant association between helmet use and an increased risk of neck injury, according to the article.
The article also dismissed the so-called “protective effect,” which suggests that the use of helmets may increase the risk of neck injury in a crash or fall. Advocates of that theory have suggested the effect may be more evident among children because they have a greater head:body ratio than adults. They argue the additional size and weight of the helmet may increase the risk of neck injury in an otherwise routine fall.
The Canadian study was released last week amid continued debate in Canada and California about the wisdom of mandating helmets for younger skiers.