Alpine skiing and snowboarding are both popular winter sports that can be associated with significant orthopaedic injuries. However, there is a lack of nationally representative injury data for the two sports.
The National Trauma Data Bank was queried for patients presenting to emergency departments due to injuries sustained from skiing and snowboarding during 2011 and 2012. Patient demographics, comorbidities, and injury patterns were tabulated and compared between skiing and snowboarding. Risk factors for increased injury severity score and lack of helmet use were identified using multivariate logistic regression.
Of the 6055 patients identified, 55.2 % were skiers. Sixty-one percent had fractures. Lower extremity fractures were the most common injury and occurred more often in skiers (p < 0.001). Upper extremity fractures were more common in snowboarders, particularly distal radius fractures (p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, increased injury severity was independently associated with age 18–29, 60–69, 70+, male sex, a positive blood test for alcohol, a positive blood test for an illegal substance, and wearing a helmet. Lack of helmet use was associated with age 18–29, 30–39, smoking, a positive drug test for an illegal substance, and snowboarding.
Young adults, the elderly, and those using substances were shown to be at greater risk of increased injury severity and lack of helmet use. The results of this study can be used clinically to guide the initial assessment of these individuals following injury, as well as for targeting preventive measures and education.
Level of evidence
Prognostic Level III.
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This study received approval from our institution’s Human Investigations Committee.
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Basques, B.A., Gardner, E.C., Samuel, A.M. et al. Injury patterns and risk factors for orthopaedic trauma from snowboarding and skiing: a national perspective. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 26, 1916–1926 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-016-4137-7