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This is a study of deaths related to downhill skiing. Deaths due to medical emergencies (for example, heart attacks), lift accidents, and avalanches have been excluded from this analysis. The death certificate information was obtained in abstract form from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and covers the period from January 1978 through March 1982. The results suggest that the fatally injured skier is predominantly a male in the mid-twenties who dies as a result of head injuries sustained from an impact with a tree, following a loss of control while skiing at a relatively high speed. This type of skier is in contrast to the typical skier, who is about equally likely to be male or female, with a median age in the low twenties, and in contrast to the typical injured skier, who is about equally likely to be male or female and is in the late teens. The study contrasts death in skiing with death in other athletic endeavors and shows that the profile of the fatally injured skier is very similar to that of the modal fatally injured automobile driver.
downhill skiing, fatalities, ski accident-related fatalities, skiing safety, skiing trauma
Shealy, Jasper E.
Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY