The Engineering of Sport 6

pp 163-167

Do Helmets Reduce Fatalities or Merely Alter the Patterns of Death?

  • Jasper E. ShealyAffiliated withRochester Institute of Technology
  • , Robert J. JohnsonAffiliated withUniversity of Vermont
  • , Carl F. EttlingerAffiliated withVermont Safety Research

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The use of helmets has been proposed as a means of reducing the incidence of fatality in skiing and snowboarding. This paper presents results that suggest that while helmets may be effective at preventing minor injuries, they have not been shown to reduce the overall incidence of fatality in skiing and snowboarding even though as many as 40% of the population at risk are currently using helmets. The results indicate that the use of a helmet will indeed influence the primary cause of death, but perhaps not the ultimate outcome.