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Ski injury prevention: an epidemiological investigation of the social, behavioural and environmental determinants of injury Cadman, Robert Edwin


Abstract: This dissertation research is a case study of the distribution and determinants of morbidity among a population of young (under 18 years) alpine skiers and snowboarders at one major North American ski resort. It is an interdisciplinary investigation that encompasses sports medicine, epidemiology, education, sociology and health promotion. The research includes two phases, a retrospective case series analysis of 2,139 injury events during the 1992 ski season and a 1993 prospective case series analysis of 540 injured alpine skiers and snowboarders in three age groups (0-6, 7-12, 13-17 years). The study employed ski patrol data and a specially designed questionnaire administered to over 800 uninjured skiers and 114 injured skiers. It was framed using the PRECEDEPROCEED health promotion planning model. The research employed replicable and reliable skier visit data that enabled calculations for age-specific incidence rates of injury. The major findings include: 1) adolescents (13-17 years) have the highest incidence of injury in the skiing population; 2) injury patterns differ between males and females as well as between alpine skiers and snowboarders; 3) children on school-sponsored ski programs are injured at a significantly greater rate than their non-school cohorts; 4) weather variables do not play a significant role in general injury rates; 5) environmental factors that include both the social and physical environments influence skiing behaviour. Alpine skiing and snowboarding injuries are both predictable and preventable events. In light of the findings, several intervention strategies are discussed that may reduce the incidence and/or severity of injury by influencing the social, behavioural and environmental determinants of skiing-related activities.

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