Ski Helmet Use Research Team Receives Grant From Vermont Health Foundation
SAM Magazine--Burlington, VT, October 20, 2006-- The Vermont Snow Sports Research Team has received a $20,000 grant from the Fletcher Allen Community Health Foundation to expand its program to increase voluntary ski helmet use among children to prevent serious head injuries. The snow sport research team is a partnership of the University Of Vermont College Of Medicine and the Vermont Children's Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care.
The grant, administered through the university, will allow the team to collaborate with the Vermont Ski Areas Association (VSAA) with the goal of expanding the program to numerous Vermont ski resorts this upcoming ski season. The team has developed a poster, stickers and a brochure designed to appeal to young skiers and boarders that promote helmet use. The team adopted "Always ride PHAT" as the byline for its multi-year campaign. PHAT is an acronym for "Protect your Head on All Terrain" and "Protect your Head at All Times."
In the past, most of the Team's research has been done at Smugglers' Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vermont. The ski areas at Bolton and Bromley Vermont were also used to gather data.
To date, the project has been very successful with over 80% of children now in helmets at Smugglers' Notch, up from 60% in the 2002-2003 season. Helmet use for adults has also shown large increases, with almost 60% of adult skiers and riders now using helmets, up from 30% on the 2002-2003 season. The study is based on more than 30,000 observations of skiers and riders over the last four winters. The importance of wearing helmets while skiing is underlined by a 1999 report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission which revealed that 7,700 head injuries could be prevented every year if skiers and snowboarders wore helmets on the slopes.
"We are very thankful to the Fletcher Allen Community Health Foundation for their support of our project," said Dr. Robert Williams leader of the research team. "Their generous donation will help us continue promoting the positive advantages of wearing a helmet. While it won't prevent all injuries, a helmet should absolutely be part of every skier's and snowboarder's routine gear. This grant will help us achieve our goal of getting every skier and snowboarder to wear a helmet every time they hit the slopes." \