Volume 5, Issue 6 (June 2008)
Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries in Greece: A Two-Year Case-Control Study
Purpose: To examine the incidence, types and patterns of snow sports injuries at Greek ski resorts. Material and Methods: Prospective case-control study at two major Greek ski resorts during 2004-5 and 2005-6 winter seasons, involving 978 injured skiers and snowboarders who asked for medical help and 775 uninjured controls randomly selected. The controls comprised every fifth person at the waiting queue towards the lifts, during weekdays, weekends and holidays, in all weather conditions. Results: The injury rate was 6.05 injuries per 1000 skier days, while 72.7 % of injuries occurred during alpine skiing and 27.3 % during snowboarding. Lower limb injuries were the commonest among skiers 43 % and females had a significant higher prevalence of injury than males (59 % versus 39 %). Snowboarders sustained more frequently upper limb injuries (49.2 %). Ligament sprains (22 %) and contusions (17.4 %) were commonest among skiers, whereas fractures (20.5 %) and contusions (15.4 %) were commonest among snowboarders. Knee and wrist injuries had statistically significant differences between skiers and snowboarders: knee 33.1 % versus 13.3 % and wrist 6.8 % versus 20 %. Most of injuries occurred during “free riding” (65 %), while the second cause of injury was collision for skiers (15.6 %) and jumps for snowboarders (23.5 %). Almost one out of five injuries (19.8 %) was lift related and 23.4 % of the lift related injuries happened when riding with an instructor. Most of injuries occurred at the end of the skiing day. Conclusions: Despite the high incidence of snow sports injuries in Greece the patterns and specific rates of injuries are similar to those previously reported in comparable studies. Many injuries were lift related, most of the injuries happened at the end of the skiing day and many people were injured when skiing/boarding with an instructor. So there is much room to update skiing safety in Greece providing safer slopes and adequate instruction.