Volume 5, Issue 5 (May 2008)
Correlative Study into Injury Epidemiology, Use of Protective Equipment and Risk Taking Among Adolescent Participants in Alpine Snow Sports
Risk-taking and sensation-seeking behaviors have been found to be common among those engaging in activities such as mountaineering, deep sea diving, skiing, and snowboarding, all of which may be considered relatively high-risk activities for accidental injury. Risk-taking behavioral characteristics have been identified as a possible explanation for the higher incidences of snowsport injuries. The numbers of children and adolescents participating in snow sports continues to rise in Australia. In the southern states of NSW and ACT, school snowsports racing entries since 2001 have increased by 204 %. An exploratory questionnaire was conducted during the 2006 winter season to investigate injury trends, sensation seeking and risk taking in the adolescent snowsport participation population. Sixty-six participants completed a questionnaire. The participants’ ages ranged from 12–18 years old with the mean age of 14 years. Alpine skiing accounted for 68.2 % of the participants, snowboarding 21.2 %, and 10.6 % cross-country skiing. Of the 66 participants, 33 suffered injuries prior to the 2006 winter season, with 19 participants having sustained two or more injuries and one participant was injured ten times. There were a total of 72 injuries among the 66 participants. Of those injured, 62 % were injured while free skiing or snowboarding, 28 % during training, and 10 % while racing. The majority (74 %) of injuries were sustained while skiing with friends, 13 % skiing with family, and 13 % skiing alone. From these results there appears to be a direct correlation between risk-taking behavior and snowsport injuries.