Dr. William Couldwell explains why helmets can't protect skiers or snowboarders from serious head and spinal cord injuries.

Learn more about this topic in the full-length interview.">

Tags: u0311081, sports medicine, spine

Jan 19, 2018 — While they can help reduce the impact of a potential fall, helmets can also create a false sense of security on the snowy slopes. On today's Health Minute, neurologist Dr. William Couldwell explains why helmets can't protect skiers or snowboarders from serious head and spinal cord injuries.

Learn more about this topic in the full-length interview.

Interview

Announcer: The Health Minute, produced by University of Utah Health.

Interviewer: Everyone knows you should wear a helmet when you ski and snowboard, but neurologist Dr. William Couldwell says helmets don't offer complete protection from injury.

Dr. Couldwell: I think they do help, in that if you do have an injury, they reduce some of the impact to the brain. The problem with ski helmets is that it also may give you a false sense of security. And I think what's happening is that the culture of skiing and snowboarding is increasing the risks, and the height, and the speed, and the falling, and the torquing of the neck can be just as much of an injury to the spinal cord. And so I think it's a combination of the head injury plus the neck injury that I'm concerned about.

And so I think we should encourage our children to wear helmets in all these endeavors, but I think also, too, we need to be thinking, as a society, what we're promoting here.

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