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    Winter Sports Injuries in France over Two Decades

    Published: 2012

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    The authors describe winter sports injuries in France over a period of two decades. The data was collated by 47 medical doctors based in 32 French resorts who form part of a working group on winter sports injuries and their prevention. These doctors, with a special interest in traumatology and epidemiology, triage and treat an estimated 20 000 injuries per winter season. It is clear that this occupational group plays a highly important role for safety in these mountain regions, serving 9 × 106 people comprising permanent residents, seasonal tourists or workers, and occasional users of the ski slopes. The aim of this paper is to look at the trends in overall incidence of injuries together with the trends in the incidence of snowboard injuries in the French ski resorts since 1992 and more specifically at the trends in the incidence of five specific lesions [wrist fractures, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries, skiers thumb, and leg fractures]. In addition results are presented for the specific risk observed in the snow parks for beginners and of ACL injuries in female skiers. This is a prospective cohort study. The study group includes 419 809 injuries. Sampled values for overall risk of injuries were as follows: mean days between injury (MDBI) in 1992; 392 MDBI in 2005; 369 MDBI in 2007; 361 MDBI in 2010; 412 with these results corresponding to the incidence rates per 1000 skier days of 2.55, 2.71, 2.77, and 2.43, respectively. There thus appears to have been an increased risk from 1992 up until 2005, with a subsequent reversal of the trend between 2005 and 2010. This reversal of the trend is explained by the change in the incidence of risk of snowboard injuries, with that of skiing remaining stable. The most common injuries seen in alpine skiing (knee sprains) and snowboarding (wrist fractures) appear to remain unchanged since 1999. For alpine skiing, the risk of ACL rupture is three times more common in women over the age of 25 than in men. The overall incidence of ACL pathology in alpine skiing has remained stable since 2000. This stability of ACL injury follows a period of increasing incidence between 1992 and 2000. During the same period, the risk of lower leg fractures and ankle fractures have significantly increased, following a period of stability. This period of change also occurred around the year 2000. Since 1992, the skiers' thumb has decreased in incidence. The increased risk of injury in beginners is very significant, with injuries being two to five times more frequent in the beginner group than in the experienced group.


    winter sports, trend, injury, alpine skiing, snowboarding, medial collateral ligament, anterior cruciate ligament, wrist fracture, leg fracture, skier's thumb, ulnar collateral ligament, terrain park, head trauma, helmets

    Author Information:

    Laporte, Jean-Dominique
    Médecins de Montagne, Groupe Médical des Péric,

    Bajolle, Lionel
    Médecins de Montagne, Centre Médical,

    Lamy, Dominique
    Médecins de Montagne, Groupe Médical des Péric,

    Delay, Jean-Baptiste
    Médecins de Montagne, Maison des Parcs et de la Montagne, Chambery,

    Committee/Subcommittee: F27.30

    DOI: 10.1520/STP20120055