WASHINGTON — A year after Rep. Sonny Bono died of head and neck injuries in a skiing accident, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is recommending that skiers and snowboarders wear helmets to reduce injuries and save lives.
In a study to be released today, the commission's staff concludes that helmet use by skiers and snowboarders could prevent or reduce the severity of 44% of head injuries to adults. The protective headgear could do the same for 53% of head injuries to children younger than 15.
"We're giving people the best safety information we have: that when they do ski, they should decide to wear helmets," Ann Brown, the commission's chairwoman, said in an interview.
The study estimates that 7,700 skiing injuries, including 2,600 head injuries to children, could be prevented or reduced in severity each year with the use of snowboarding and skiing helmets. There were 17,500 head injuries associated with skiing and snowboarding in 1997.