The Use of Wrist Guards by Snowboarders in Switzerland

    Published: Nov 2012

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    This study analyzed the attitudes of snowboarders regarding the use of wrist guards with the goal of determining the best way to persuade snow-boarders to wear wrist protection. A questionnaire was completed orally by 3791 snowboarders over six winter seasons between 2002–2003 and 2009–2010 at 20 ski resorts in Switzerland. The use of wrist guards was highest, at about 40 %, from seasons 2002–2003 to 2007–2008, and usage decreased to 27 % in 2009–2010. Snowboarders who did not wear wrist guards were more likely to be 18 years old or older, to have a beginner or expert skill level, to be a resident of a country other than Switzerland, to snowboard in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and to not wear a helmet while snowboarding. The main reason for wearing wrist guards was safety (68 %). The three most common reasons for not wearing wrist guards were a lack of safety consciousness (35 %), dissatisfaction with the design (25 %), and the perception that the wrist guards did not provide sufficient protection (19 %). Moreover, 78 % of snowboarders who did not wear wrist guards and 26 % of those who did wear them agreed with the statement that wrist guards are uncomfortable. In addition, 59 % and 37 %, respectively, believed that there is a high risk of forearm injury during an accident when a wrist guard is worn. Based on these findings, both the functionality and the comfort of wrist guards should be improved. Toward this end, safety requirements and related performance criteria need to be identified, defined, and implemented. Commercially available wrist guards should be required to meet acquired safety standards. Finally, snowboarders' awareness of wrist injuries needs to be increased, and the effectiveness of wrist protectors should be communicated more effectively.


    snowboard, snow sport, wrist injury, wrist guard, safety

    Author Information:

    Bianchi, Giannina
    Research Dept., bfu - Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, Berne,

    Michel, Frank I.
    Research Dept., bfu - Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, Berne,

    Brügger, Othmar
    Research Dept., bfu - Swiss Council for Accident Prevention, Berne,

    Committee/Subcommittee: F27.30

    DOI: 10.1520/STP104585

    CrossRef ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.