Total Incidence of Injury in Snow Sports versus Ice Hockey:
Which is the most dangerous winter sport?
Using hospital admissions as the baseline to compare winter sports, two different studies done in here in Canada provides some evidence that when it comes to severe injury, skiing and snowboarding are far more dangerous winter activities than hockey.
The first study was completed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information and uses data from a national trauma registry. It was completed in 2011. The second study, done in British Columbia, is based on data from that province alone for the 2014-15 winter season. Both data sets demonstrate a much higher incidence of traumatic injury from snow sports.
A number of factors contribute to the high level of traumatic injury in skiing and snowboarding. The importance of wearing a helmet while cannot be over-stressed, but unfortunately many practitioners choose not to do so. Other factors include the use of poor equipment, unusual fatigue due to altitude or dehydration, or skiing out of bounds. Finally, it is quite common for skiers to over-estimating their stamina or ability level, as they often choose to stay on the hill for as long as possible, rather than being limited by a game time.
The Acute Knee Injury Clinic and the Acute Sport Concussion Clinic here at the Sport Medicine Centre both see an increase in patient intake over the course of the ski season. We suggest that skiers should be aware of the importance of maintaining both their skills and the quality of their equipment to enjoy an injury-free winter sport season.
For further information on the above data, see: Canadian Institute for Health Information at www.cihi.ca Provincial Health Services Authority at www.phsa.ca