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Over the past 26 years, the authors have given many reports at ASTM Conferences on injury trends in Alpine skiing. These reports have generally taken two forms: a cursory report on a broad range of injury groups or an in-depth look at a specific injury group or sub-group of the general population. In the current study, the authors provide an update on two large injury groups that have been the subject of many earlier reports, fractures and sprains of the lower leg and sprains of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. Examples of the lower leg injury common to Alpine skiing are tibia fractures, ankle sprains and fractures, tibia plateau fractures, heel cord injuries, and knee sprains.
Between December 1972 and April 1998 the authors evaluated prospectively 15 526 injuires reported to the injury clinic operated in the base lodge of a moderate size northern Vermont ski area. During that time approximately 5 298 600 skier-visits (days) occurred at the area. Over that period the overall injury rate decreased by 46%. However, the change for the two target groups can not be expressed in such simple terms. Historically, the authors have described injury trends in mean days between injury (MDBI), fitting each year's MDBI to an exponential curve by regression analysis. In this study the authors explain why this technique can no longer be used for these two groups and propose new methods, which could lead to a better understanding of the trends identified by this study.
ski injuries, epidemiology, knee injuires, lower leg injuries, injury rates, phantom foot
McClure Professor of Musculoskeletal Research, College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
President, Vermont Ski Safety Equipment, Inc., VT
Professor and department head, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY