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Update on Mandatory Helmet Controversy - Page 6

post #151 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

Could be that the same skiers who are deciding they are going to ski dangerously are also deciding to wear helmets..... or not for studies that show hemeted skiers are safer.  There is no cause-effect proving statistical study.  Correlation is not causation.  Common sense tells me that I'm safer with a hemet.  Should I hit my head a glancing blow on the ice as I go rag-dolling along, I'm better off with a hemet.  Still not a very likely thing to happen; I'm more likely to hurt my head on the way to the ski hill. 
 

Right.  Point being, there's no way to know -- not, anyway until someone conducts extensive, large-scale studies, and sophisticated, fine-grained data analyses.  Which they're not going to do, because, as you point out, skier deaths are not a huge public health crisis -- they're barely even public. 

At any rate, you'll agree, maybe, that there are more things (except other skiers) in the back country that might kill you, things that helmets won't protect you from.  And if there's an uptick in people skiing the back country, among them will be people who shouldn't ski the back country (and/or people who have a bad day) -- and this will affect the death rates overall.  Significantly?  I don't know.  But yes, Ghost. Drive carefully!  (Though that's a separate statistical category.)
post #152 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

Another hypothesis might be that risky skiing itself is increasingly fashionable.  On this site, of course, admitting to loving groomers is a bit like wearing a pocket protector and your pants too short.  Tellement uncool.  Out in the world, what's cool -- and what's heavily marketed as cool -- is extreme skiing: cliffs, avalanche country, ultra-steeps.  Every twenty-something with a credit card is encouraged to visualize him- or herself as the star of his own ski-porn movie, and a mass movement of that kind might skew the numbers.

 

Wait a minute, pocket protectors are uncool? 

Seriously, I agree with your point -- that's what I was trying to say about tree skiing, but you actually said it clearly.  Does anyone have any stats on increase in resort-sanctioned tree-skiing or back country ski areas?  How about stats on percent of ski accidents on groomed slopes vs. off piste?

Another anecdotal factoid:  when I was at Whitetail this past weekend, it seemed to me that non-helmet users were in a minority, but most of them were older.  Most of the kids (arbitrarily defined as anyone under 30) on skis or snowboards had helmets, and for the most part they were the risk-takers.  As far as I could tell, the only person over 50 doing jumps in the terrain park was.... me.     CT, you might point to this (not to me, but to the rest of the terrain park crowd) as evidence that their use of helmets gave them a false sense of security.  But I wonder if this generation has just grown up with helmets and to them wearing one is no big deal. 

Final point (for now):  whether helmets increase skier safety is a separate issue from whether helmet use should be mandated by the government.   It would not be inconsistent to answer "yes, no" to those two separate questions.  
post #153 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post




CT, you might point to this (not to me, but to the rest of the terrain park crowd) as evidence that their use of helmets gave them a false sense of security.  But I wonder if this generation has just grown up with helmets and to them wearing one is no big deal...

 

It would actually be interesting to see a well-done study aimed at whether, other things being equal, people go bigger in the park with helmets vs. without.  This is a subtly different point in many cases though imo opinion than applies for someone who skis, say, 3 mph faster with helmet than without on a blue groomer:  in many cases for park users my view is you're dealing with a more-educated consumer.  While their risk compensation may not be calibrated that precisely (not something anyone could calibrate well anyway) it's likely to be somewhat knowing and close-enough.  Think X-Games park (no helmet required, virtually no one except for a ripping Andy Mac in pads) vs. mega ramp (mucho pads and helmets).  The PC view of course is to deny that this compensation even occurs, even though it clearly does across a wide swath of behavior and in sports.

Most people skiing 18 mph on a blue groomer, by contrast, have no idea what an accidental trip into the woods or a square collision with another skier could be like and no idea that for that type of collision a helmet does not seem to provide much if any protection.  They definitely have no idea that an extra 3 mph has a major impact on increasing forces.  (The anecdotes of "XYZ was fine because of their helmet" after tangling with a tree show that many people know nothing about helmets:  if a helmet saves you from death in a serious impact, due to the forces involved you'll still have a serious head injury.)  A corrollary to this is the demand to punish skiers who are involved in serious accidental collisions:  because these are so rare, it is easy for people to be naive and judgmental, forgetting that in most cases the conduct involved is no different than their own skiing/riding.

But as for helmets being mandated from the outside.  Let's say little Johnny does hurt himself in the park.  An ideal scenario according to OSHA might well be to let Johnny lie there for an hour while a helmeted vertical rescue team is called in.  Many parks have some vertical features, and if you interpret PC rules without thinking you get PC results.  When the "vertical rescuers" get to hypothermic little Johnny they may bump him in the face with their helmets as they check for his hypothermic breathing, but that may be the least of his worries. I don't think many patrollers feel at serious risk of head injury taking a sled through the park or view it as a vertical environment; let the patrollers judge. 

That may seem a farfetched scenario -- bureaucrats can't be that rigid and that stupid, can they? --but the "school administrators" who suspend kids for bringing cake knives to school with birthday cakes for real birthdays also seem farfetched but due to PC rules are things we have to live with. 

 
post #154 of 165
CT --  some interesting thoughts -- not the Libertarian rif, but whether park skiers are perhaps more attuned to the risks than some oblivious skier zooming down a blue slope.  It would be nice to have some data to dig into: percent injuries on slopes vs. terrain parks, percent helmet on slopes vs. terrain parks, etc.  And whether helmeted skiers go bigger on a park jumps would be a great study, as you said.  We would have to hold age constant -- or maybe discard data from any jumpers over 50, so that helmeted park guys like me don't skew the results....  
post #155 of 165
 Yes please, more data and discussion on this topic! I think we have just scratched the surface. Fascinating stuff!
post #156 of 165
There's a competing helmet thread -- so we have to keep this one going! 
post #157 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post

CT --  some interesting thoughts -- not the Libertarian rif, but whether park skiers are perhaps more attuned to the risks than some oblivious skier zooming down a blue slope.  It would be nice to have some data to dig into: percent injuries on slopes vs. terrain parks, percent helmet on slopes vs. terrain parks, etc.  And whether helmeted skiers go bigger on a park jumps would be a great study, as you said.  We would have to hold age constant -- or maybe discard data from any jumpers over 50, so that helmeted park guys like me don't skew the results....  


Anyone hitting jumps in the park over 50 totally should be included, major thumbs up.  Radness of doing that aside, "smoothing" the data is best left to the climate folk, no?  :) 
post #158 of 165

Touché.

post #159 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Anyone hitting jumps in the park over 50 totally should be included, major thumbs up.  Radness of doing that aside, "smoothing" the data is best left to the climate folk, no?  :) 

Data reduction is done in nearly all scientific fields due to the inaccuracies of equipment. Smoothing is often a part of data reduction. Just an FYI.
post #160 of 165
 Jeez, Jimski.  (I should have started skiing at 6 instead of 46.)

MikeNZUZU quoted part of this article (http://www.ski-injury.com/prevention/helmet) earlier -- but the whole thing gives a more balanced read.  Conclusion: as CT said, helmets don't do much to prevent injury in high-impact (high-speed) events.  On the other hand, they significantly reduce injury in low-speed events (just as motorcycle helmets, which don't do much for a 65 mph head-on with Quercus palustris, will prevent injury in those situations when you just whack your head on, say, a granite curb after falling eight feet or so -- are low speed accidents more common than high speed ones?  Hm.).  Anyway, it's a balanced article that appears carefully researched (and Scottish).
post #161 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmpph View Post

Quote:


Data reduction is done in nearly all scientific fields due to the inaccuracies of equipment. Smoothing is often a part of data reduction. Just an FYI.
 

I had never heard of this!

It's done for all sorts of reasons, most of them unjustified.  Real life is messy.  But, I do have a hockey stick to sell you.
post #162 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakespapa View Post

 Jeez, Jimski.  (I should have started skiing at 6 instead of 46.)

 

You started young!  I was 53 -- it was either the Porsche or the trophy blonde or skiing.  With hindsight, I wonder if I should have opted for one of the cheaper alternatives....
post #163 of 165
... there's a joke in there about trophy blondes and helmets somewhere, I just know it...
post #164 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimski View Post
You started young!  I was 53 -- it was either the Porsche or the trophy blonde or skiing.  With hindsight, I wonder if I should have opted for one of the cheaper alternatives....

 

Show off!  
(But I married the blonde.)
post #165 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

... there's a joke in there about trophy blondes and helmets somewhere, I just know it...
 

I can do 2 out of 3, with apologies to all the fair-haired out there: 

"A man answers a knock on his door and there's a blonde standing there, who says: "Please, I need work.  Do you have anything for me to do?"  The man responds: "Sure, I just bought paint. If you paint my porch I'll pay you $50."  She agrees.  An hour later she comes to the door again and says to the man:  "I did it.  By the way, it was a Lexus, not a Porsche." 

(Couldn't figure out how to work helmets in.....should the man or the blonde be wearing one? )
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