More than 5,600 Canadians seriously injured every year from winter activities

Skiing and snowboarding lead to twice as many hospitalizations as hockey

OTTAWA, Jan. 17, 2012 /CNW/ - While hockey hits have been getting a lot of attention in Canada, skiing and snowboarding injuries are more than twice as common, according to new data released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). In 2010-2011, there were 2,329 hospital admissions for a skiing or snowboarding fall or crash, compared with 1,114 hockey-related hospitalizations. Other seasonal activities also led to hospital stays: ice skating (889); snowmobiling (1,126); and tobogganing (171).

"There is a lot to enjoy about Canadian winters, but safety and precautions are important across all age groups," explains Greg Webster, Director of Primary Health Care Information and Clinical Registries at CIHI. "Every year, more than 5,000 Canadians get seriously injured—requiring at least one night's hospital stay—due to a winter sport or recreational activity. These numbers do not include visits that involve only the emergency department (ED) or a doctor's office, or deaths at the scene, so the total number of injuries is actually much higher."

In terms of total ED visits for these seasonal activities, Ontario (where complete data is available) alone saw a total of 45,270 in 2010-2011. That averages out to 285 ED visits for every day of winter.

Most often hurt while playing: boys age 10 to 19

Half of all hospitalizations during 2010-2011 for hockey injuries (542 out of 1,114) and close to one-third of all those for skiing and snowboarding (689 out of 2,329) were for people age 10 to 19. When looking at all winter activities in this age group, boys accounted for 81% of those hurt.

Children younger than 10 were hospitalized most often for injuries related to skiing and snowboarding (87 cases) and tobogganing (56 cases).

Of the activities studied, snowmobiling was the only one not over-represented by younger Canadians in terms of hospitalizations: two-thirds (752 out of 1,126) of serious snowmobile injuries occurred in adults age 20 to 49.

Past five years see little change in number of serious injuries

The total number of hospitalizations related to seasonal activities has not changed much since 2006-2007. As well, in 2010-2011, 415 Canadians were hospitalized for head injuries related to a winter sport or recreational activity; this number has remained relatively stable since 2006-2007.

Last year, nearly one-third (135) of these serious head injuries occurred while skiing or snowboarding. Over the past five years, a total of 759 head injury hospitalizations were related to ski hill activities in Canada.

"When it comes to winter, it's important that Canadians get outside to play and enjoy our slopes," says Dr. Natalie Yanchar, Associate Professor of Surgery and Emergency Medicine at Dalhousie University, and Medical Director at IWK Trauma Care in Halifax. "Wearing a helmet is important for all ages to prevent a fun day in the snow from ending in tragedy—without question, it reduces the risk of serious head injuries in case of a crash."

Older Canadians most often hurt by falls on ice

For all winter-related causes of serious injuries (excluding motor vehicle collisions), falls on ice were by far the most common cause: they led to 7,138 hospital admissions in 2010-2011, more than for all winter sports and recreational activities combined. About half of these cases occurred in people age 60 and older and about 70% were among those 50 and older.

More than half (56%) of those hospitalized for falls on ice were women.

The following tables are available from CIHI's website, at www.cihi.ca.

Table 1: Number of Hospitalizations Due to Winter Sports and Recreational Activities, by Cause and Fiscal Year, 2006-2007 to 2010-2011
Activity* Fiscal Year
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
Ice Hockey 1,221 1,099 1,099 1,188 1,114
Ice Skating 888 863 853 870 889
Skiing/Snowboarding 2,364 2,573 2,464 2,443 2,329
Snowmobiling 1,195 1,295 1,231 1,228 1,126
Tobogganing 252 215 189 204 171
Total 5,920 6,045 5,836 5,933 5,629

Notes
* Based on first reported ICD-10 external cause of injury code.
Excludes people who died at the scene of the injury or who were treated outside of a hospital setting, such as in a walk-in clinic or doctor's office.

Source
National Trauma Registry Minimum Data Set, 2011, Canadian Institute for Health Information.


Table 2: Number of Hospitalizations Due to Winter Sports and Recreational Activities, by Cause, Age and Gender, 2006-2007 to 2010-2011
 
Activity* Age Group Total
0-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70+
Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male
Ice Hockey 12 101 192 2,645 57 937 42 711 33 658 10 234 N/R 67 N/R 17 5,721
Ice Skating 89 80 221 678 134 345 258 430 326 507 368 316 285 177 60 89 4,363
Skiing/ Snowboarding 149 227 920 3,171 770 2,062 432 891 551 819 571 663 291 321 119 216 12,173
Snowmobiling 33 54 183 666 205 1,183 219 1,104 204 1,085 142 613 52 223 12 97 6,075
Tobogganing 151 197 146 208 58 57 48 41 44 35 18 19 N/R N/R N/R N/R 1,031

Notes
* Based on first reported ICD-10 external cause of injury code.
N/R: not reportable. In accordance with CIHI's privacy policy, cells with counts of 1 to 4 were suppressed.
Excludes people who died at the scene of the injury or who were treated outside of a hospital setting, such as in a walk-in clinic or doctor's office.
Six hospitalizations of unknown gender were excluded.

Source
National Trauma Registry Minimum Data Set, 2011, Canadian Institute for Health Information.


Table 3: Number of Hospitalizations Due to Falls on Ice, by Age and Gender, 2006-2007 to 2010-2011
 
Age Group 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total
0-9 35 17 52 48 24 72 42 25 67 25 13 38 35 20 55
10-19 128 60 188 142 81 223 135 100 235 80 60 140 92 53 145
20-29 205 167 372 233 238 471 266 245 511 148 156 304 204 211 415
30-39 250 274 524 309 346 655 334 385 719 207 217 424 274 297 571
40-49 434 516 950 520 602 1,122 618 662 1,280 315 345 660 417 520 937
50-59 543 737 1,280 662 932 1,594 719 1,042 1,761 418 587 1,005 639 832 1,471
60-69 473 628 1,101 655 823 1,478 713 965 1,678 441 552 993 548 796 1,344
70+ 844 1,132 1,976 1,059 1,430 2,489 1,306 1,564 2,870 741 1,007 1,748 919 1,281 2,200
Total 2,912 3,531 6,443 3,628 4,476 8,104 4,133 4,988 9,121 2,375 2,937 5,312 3,128 4,010 7,138

Note
Excludes people who died at the scene of the injury or who were treated outside of a hospital setting, such as in a walk-in clinic or doctor's office.

Source
National Trauma Registry Minimum Data Set, 2011, Canadian Institute for Health Information.

 

SOURCE CANADIAN INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH INFORMATION

For further information:

Media contacts    
Sandra Koppert 
613-694-6280
Cell: 613-297-1192
skoppert@cihi.ca
  Aviva Hofmann Shaw 
613-694-6515
Cell: 613-858-4990
ahofmannshaw@cihi.ca

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