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National Trauma Data Bank Analysis of Pediatric Helmet Use in Ski and Snowboard Injuries
Kaitlyn E. Wong, MD, MPH2; M. Carmen Mora, MD2; Kevin P Moriarty, MD1; David B. Tashjian, MD1; Lisa A. Patterson, MD2; Ronald I. Gross, MD2; Michael V. Tirabassi, MD1
1Baystate Children’s Hospital, Springfield, MA; 2Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA

Background: The purpose of this study is to evaluate helmet use trends and evaluate the relationship between helmet use and traumatic brain injury (TBI) amongst children suffering skiing and snowboarding injuries.

Methods: The National Trauma Data Bank Research Data Set (NTDB RDS) was evaluated from 2002-2011. Mechanism of injury e-codes evaluated included ski (E885.3) and snowboard (E885.4). Patients with brain abbreviated injury scale (AIS) codes were identified in patients 18 years and younger. Patients were evaluated for helmet use, length of hospital stay, operative intervention and mortality.

Results: A total of 7,789 children were identified with skiing and snowboarding injuries. Helmet use was observed to significantly increase over time (p<0.0001). There was no correlation between helmet use and the incidence of TBI. Males and skiers were more likely to wear a helmet but were also more likely to suffer a TBI. Amongst ski and snowboard patients, 80% who underwent a craniotomy or craniectomy and 81.3% who died did not wear a helmet.

Conclusion: While helmet use did not significantly reduce the incidence of TBI in children it was associated with reduced incidence of serious head trauma resulting in operative intervention or death. Given our findings, we recommend helmet use amongst pediatric patients partaking in snow sports.

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