August 24th, 2010
07:04 AM ET

Street sledding riskier for brain injury

It may still be the dog days of summer, but winter will be upon us before we know it. And that means time to hit the slopes.

Although skiing and snow boarding are known to be risky sports, even sledding, especially when it involves kids, can lead to serious injuries.

A new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital found that over a 10-year period, (1997-2007), an estimated 229,023 children under the age of 19 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms hospital for sledding-related injuries. That's an average of more than 20,000 cases each year.

The study, which appears in next month's issue of Pediatrics, found the most common injuries from sledding were fractures (26 percent), followed by cuts and bruises (25 percent). The study also found that the majority of injuries occurred during a collision (51 percent), and those collisions more than likely resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) . Overall, the head was the most injured body part (34 percent of reported injuries). Even though most of the injuries happened at a sports or recreation area, patients who were injured while sledding on a street or highway were more likely to suffer injuries to the head, get a diagnosed TBI and hospitalized than were patients injured in other locations.

"Two of the main factors that contribute to sledding-related injuries are the environment and locale," said study co-author, Dr, Lara McKenzie, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "To reduce the risk of injury, sledding areas should be clear of trees and other obstacles and should have sufficient run-out areas away from streets. In addition, sledding on streets and highways should be avoided to prevent collisions with motor vehicles and other traffic."

Study researchers also noted concern when it came to motorized vehicles pulling sleds. That's because more than one-third of the injuries suffered while being pulled by a vehicle were fractures.

"Our findings indicate that the prevalence of this activity may be much greater and the practice more common than previously thought," said McKenzie. "Given the potential for serious injury, children should never ride a sled that is being pulled by a motorized vehicle of any type including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, dirt bikes and lawn mowers."

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Wet Wolf

    Always wear a helmet.

    August 24, 2010 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Travis Cowsill

    Ummm... "Duh"?

    August 24, 2010 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • shallowHal51

      didn't you mean to say "Duuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhh"

      August 24, 2010 at 09:17 | Report abuse |
    • brumbleb

      Yeah...that was EXACTLY what I was going to post too!

      August 24, 2010 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
  3. Gregg

    And someone or some group funded this "research"..... I want that job!

    August 24, 2010 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Snuffleluffagus

      I know! Sit around all day in white lab coats and empty beakers studying the most blatantly obvious crap.

      August 24, 2010 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
  4. rcr

    Had a neighborhood boy get brain injury (succumbed) from hitting his head on parked car, after being tossed while car sledding.

    August 24, 2010 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mary

    "Street Sledding Riskier for Brain Injury"......Badly worded headline. How about "Street Sledding Raises Risk of Brain Injury"?

    August 24, 2010 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Skid Marks

    Look out for the next article in the series entitled: "Running head first into a brick wall may cause headaches"

    August 24, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Fitness Contrarian

    I would never let my kids bike or ski without a helmet. They should be wearing helmets while sledding.


    September 3, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alok

      No kidding Nearly same thing hanpeped to me after a family death. I was thinking aloud to my recently lost family member (passed about 1 day later) looking at the ceiling fan. I saw a brief blue flash at its base and all 4 lights and the fan turned on. Then I cried like a little girl; I was about 14. That never hanpeped before or since, but it did happen. I'm a normal person with no drugs/booze and undstand technology and I will say that above did actually occur. I don't know what the implications are, but it did happen.

      August 1, 2012 at 15:21 | Report abuse |
  8. MSD Global Ventures

    I find it very disacouraging that parent's are so apathetic when it comes to their children. Helmets do save lives.
    Wearing a helmet that meets the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards is the law in many states – and for good reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), helmets have a 35%
    effectiveness rate in preventing fatalities. In 2003, for example, helmet use was credited with saving 1,158 lives.
    Had these fortunate riders not used a helmet, the fatality rate would have risen from 3,661 to 4,819, more than a
    third higher.


    September 1, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
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