gms | German Medical Science

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Annual Assembly of the German and the Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Austrian Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

26.-29.10.2011, Salzburg, Österreich

Epidemiology of snow sport injuries: The need of speaking the same language

Meeting Abstract

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  • Athanasios Zacharopoulos - Orthopaedic Department of General Hospital of Amfissa, Greece; National Secretary of SITEMSH

7th EFSMA – European Congress of Sports Medicine, 3rd Central European Congress of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Salzburg, 26.-29.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11esm003

doi: 10.3205/11esm003, urn:nbn:de:0183-11esm0038

Veröffentlicht: 24. Oktober 2011

© 2011 Zacharopoulos.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen ( Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.



Epidemiology is the study of the frequency and determinants of trauma or disease. Epidemiologic studies describe the patterns of injury or disease, relate the patterns of injury occurrence to causative factors, gain insight into the ways of decreasing injury or disease and also have important applications in determining the effectiveness of the treatment of the injured athlete.

Ski injury research combines epidemiology and clinical medicine to:

  • analyze the frequency and determinants of injuries sustained by athletes,
  • to alter patterns of participation which contributes to injury and
  • to prevent injuries.

but requires knowledge of epidemiological techniques.

There are many methods to evaluate problems in skiing injuries and skiing safety:

  • Observational studies (case studies, case series, case control studies, cohort studies)
  • Experimental Studies (randomized or non randomized clinical trials)

Ski injury researchers mostly use case control studies, analyzed with multivariate logistic regression, to investigate the injury incidence and the risk factors for injury and randomized clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of the new equipment. They use also the two Major Indexes for calculating the ski injury rates: IPTSD (injuries per thousand skier days) and MDBI (mean days between injuries).

Problems with ski injury epidemiology make comparisons between studies difficult. There are many variations in:

  • injury definition
  • methods of quantifying the at risk population
  • measuring exposure to risk (skier days)
  • site where data obtained (ski area clinic – hospital)
  • bypass effect – not all injured skiers report to the ski patrol or clinics near the ski area

so there are too many questions that have to be answered.

Future studies must focus on speaking the same language and effectively eliminate biases or, otherwise, we will continue to flounder in our efforts to determine the best method to reduce the risk of ski injuries or treat injured skiers.