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Study confirms importance of helmets for skiers and snowboarders

Whether you choose new or used ski equipment or snowboarding equipment, a new study makes the case for including a helmet on your winter sport shopping list.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University analyzed the results from several previous studies regarding the effectiveness of helmets in preventing head injuries among skiers and snowboarders. They found the data clearly indicates that helmets reduce the severity of head injuries.

"There really is a great case to be made for wearing helmets," said the study's lead author, Dr. Adil Haider. "By increasing awareness and giving people scientific proof, we hope behavior changes will follow."

Helmet use is not required in the U.S. or Canada, except for in Nova Scotia. However, a survey conducted by the National Ski Areas Association found that helmet use is on the rise. More than half (57 percent) of skiers and snowboarders wore helmets during the 2009-2010 ski season, compared with 25 percent during the 2002-2003 ski season.

It's estimated that 10 million Americans ski or snowboard each year in the U.S., with approximately 600,000 injuries reported annually, 20 percent of which are head injuries.
 

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