gms | German Medical Science

61st Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC) as part of the Neurowoche 2010
Joint Meeting with the Brazilian Society of Neurosurgery on the 20 September 2010

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

21 - 25 September 2010, Mannheim

Helmet use in winter sport activities – attitude and opinion of neurosurgeons and general population

Meeting Abstract

  • Carla S. Jung - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Deutschland
  • Klaus Zweckberger - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Deutschland
  • Uta Schick - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Deutschland
  • Andreas W. Unterberg - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Deutschland

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 61. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC) im Rahmen der Neurowoche 2010. Mannheim, 21.-25.09.2010. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2010. DocV1688

doi: 10.3205/10dgnc159, urn:nbn:de:0183-10dgnc1593

Published: September 16, 2010

© 2010 Jung et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: During last winter seasons some fatal sport-injuries with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) prompted major discussions about protective helmet use. Although, ski-helmets reportedly lead to a 60% decrease of risk to incur TBI, little is known about the distribution of helmet users and which factors are crucial for the decision to wear a helmet. Especially, it is unknown whether knowledge or experience concerning TBI in winter sports influences the use of helmets as well as the attitude and opinion of people.

Methods: Since treatment of TBI is a major field in neurosurgery, 55 neurosurgical departments in Germany, Switzerland and Austria were addressed and asked to answer anonymous questionnaires. A “non-trauma-educated” control cohort (GP) was interviewed in ski resorts in Austria as well as sports equipment stores in Germany.

Results: 465 NS and 546 GP returned questionnaires. Half of NS and GP wore helmets in winter sports. Although some interviewees showed cognitive dissonant behaviour concerning helmet use, experience in TBI after ski or snowboard accidents significantly effected the decision to wear protective helmets. 15.4% NS and 13.2% GP bought their helmet after the fatal ski accidents and increased media coverage. Furthermore, incidence of helmet use in children was correlated with the actual use and disposition of their parents to make helmet use compulsory.

Conclusions: This study indicates that brain-trauma education effects ones attitude and opinion concerning protective helmet use. However, without neglecting educational measures, emotional arguments should be added in the promotion of helmets to make them a popular integral part of winter-sport-outfits.