SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1993

Comparison of Downhill Ski Injury Patterns—1978–81 vs. 1988–90


This study repeats and expands upon an earlier study done by the principal investigator ten years ago. The study looks at trends in downhill (DH) skiing over the last ten years; differences between control and injured groups of skiers; differences between male and female skiers; differences due to ability level; and the relationship of lessons to injuries.

The key findings are • The overall rate of injuries in the current study group of ski areas is lower by 20% from where it was in a similar group of ski areas ten years ago (2.7 injuries per 1000 skier visits (SV) currently, versus 3.3 injuries per 1000 SV ten years ago). • The injury rates for male and female skier populations are essentially the same when controlled for ability level; when the two groups are compared on an overall basis (without controlling for the differential distribution of ability within each group), the female rate is about 50% higher than the male rate. • More females than males tend to be at the lower end of the ability scale. • The rate for beginner/novice skiers is about 10 times that of the advanced/expert skier in terms of number of injuries per 1000 SV. • The use of lessons is not associated with a reduced risk of injury in either activity. • The distribution of injuries (for part of body injured), in DH skiing has changed over the past ten years, today there are more knee (was 27.2% of all injuries, now 32.7%) injuries and fewer ankle (was 11.5%, now 6.1%) and lower leg (was 12.6, now 7.7%) injuries. • Over the past ten years, injuries due to twist/bend have dropped from 35.5% to only 26.2%, while injuries due to impact with snow surface have increased from 35.6% to 41.8%. • Fractures have declined from 19.1% to only 13.5% of all injuries.

Author Information

Shealy, JE
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY
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Developed by Committee: F27
Pages: 23–32
DOI: 10.1520/STP25556S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5237-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1494-4