Published: Jan 2003
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This study compares regional differences in the risk of skiing injury using readily available data. A simple system compares skiing injury data from unrelated studies in several countries using the frequency of ACL sprains as a base for comparison with the frequency of a target injury group, in this case tibia shaft fractures. Prior studies involving the authors' 29-year case-control study at a medium-sized Vermont ski area serve as a basis for this analysis.
For the period from 1992–93 to 1999–2000 the number of total skiing injuries, tibia shaft fractures, and ACL sprains were obtained from widely disbursed sources in 5 countries. The 8-year study involved 5382 tibia fractures and 26,331 ACL sprains.
The ratio of ACL sprains to tibia fractures was computed by dividing the number of ACL sprains by the number of tibia fractures from each source for each year. The authors expected the relationship of ACL injuries to tibia shaft fractures, expressed by this ratio, to reflect differences in the quality of ski binding release function among regions.
Over the 8-year study, the ratio for the authors Vermont study averaged 9.0 while the ratio for the five regions surveyed were from 2.0, 2.1, 2.3, 5.6, and 10.5. The authors propose that low ratios be regarded as an indication of a low standard of ski equipment care in the region. However, high ratios, the authors believe are an indication of a high standard of ski equipment care or comparatively poor snow conditions in the region.
The study shows that the standard of equipment care varies greatly throughout the world. The authors plan to expand the survey to investigate both snow conditions and equipment factors more completely.
skiing injuries, comparative studies, ACL injuries, tibia fractures, skiing equipment
McClure Professor of Musculoskeletal Research, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
President, Vermont Safety Research, Inc., Underhill, VT
Professor Emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY