By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Jan. 28, 2012.
Stories about hockey hits and concussions have dominated the media landscape, but ski and snowboarding injuries are more than twice as common, according to new data released by Canadian Institute for Health Information.
CIHI is an independent, non-profit corporation that provides essential information on Canada’s health system.
The latest CIHI data reveals in 2010-11, there were 2,329 hospital admissions for skiing or snowboarding falls or crashes, compared with 1,114 hockey-related hospitalisations.
Other seasonal activities that led to hospital stays: Ice skating (889); snowmobiling (1,126); and tobogganing (171).
Over all, 5,629 Canadians were hospitalised due to winter-related recreational sports.
Excluding motor vehicle collisions, falls on ice were by far the most common cause for all winter-related serious injuries.
Falls on ice sent 7,138 Canadians to hospital, more than for all winter sports and recreational activities combined.
About half of these cases occurred in people age 60 and older.
But a common strain runs between hockey and skiing injuries: Boys age 10 to 19.
Half of all hospitalizations for hockey injuries and close to one-third of all those for skiing and snowboarding were for people age 10 to 19.
CIHI found boys accounted for 81 per cent of those hurt.
As many as 415 Canadians were hospitalized for head injuries related to a winter sport or recreational activity, although this number has remained relatively stable since 2006–2007.
Last year, 135 of these serious head injuries occurred while skiing or snowboarding.
Over the past five years, a total of 759 head injury hospitalizations were related to ski hill activities in Canada.
Every year, more than 5,000 Canadians get seriously injured—requiring at least one night’s hospital stay—due to a winter sport,” said Greg Webster, Director of Primary Health Care Information and Clinical Registries at CIHI.
The total number is probably higher because this does not include visits to the emergency department (ED) or a doctor’s office, or deaths at the scene.
CIHI is reminding people that wearing a helmet is important for all ages to prevent a fun day in the snow from ending in tragedy.