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Actress Natasha Richardson dies after skiing accident.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just back from a few days in Lech, where, because I was cruising around on gentle, perfectly pisted blues, in bright sunshine, with hardly anyone else around, I decided NOT to wear my helmet.

Call this rash, foolish, stupid even, but my 'assessment' was that the benefit (on blue-sky sun drenched days) of having a cool head, outweighed the small risk of injury. This story broke while we were out there and sparked some debate, but I decided that if I was willing to accept the risk before Natasha Richardson's tragic accident, why would my opinion change, when the risk had not?

I normally do wear a helmet, but am not religious about it. I agree with those who say beginners should be encouraged to wear one as their chance of falling is high, and also those who ski more aggressively or on more demanding terrain. Most of all I agree with those who say 'each to his own'.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I completely agree with marksovereign, -- it is not only for beginners-- but for everyone. You could be any level, and it could happen on the easiest piste. I have been skiing for years, and do not saviour the prospect of wearing a helmet on hot sunny days, but having had the experience of falling and hitting my head on a flat bit just before reaching a chairlift-- years ago..I know it can happen anytime.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I would wear a helmet, but don't want to have to pack and carry it - when I looked though I couldn't find any ski hire shops that would hire out adult ones.

Tried my daughters on and it just about fit, so maybe a large childs will do me next year.
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marksovereign wrote:
I'm still missing the point here somehow - Why are people intimating that helmets are only for beginners? When was the last time you saw a downhill ski racer compete withjout a helmet?


It needs a little more care in making a generalisation, or even inferring one.

People who are skiing beyond or at the limit of their competence (beginners and racers) should wear a helmet whilst doing so - except in a situation where to wear a helmet would tend to increase the risk of harm/severity of potential injury.

How about that?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
skimom, our ski hire shop here in Les Gets had helmets - I know that four friends arrived here last March and when they saw that we wear them they all went and got them with their skis etc.

I was again shocked to see small children skiing today without helmets.... we were on the lift going over the top of the meeting place at Pleney and a snake of very small children were setting off behind an ESF instructor and at least two of them just had hats on.
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crosbie wrote:
feel my chances of accident would be increased by the encumbrance of a helmet. I'm the same way on cycling.


what encumbrance? if an helmet gets in your vision or annoys you when fitted it's the wrong one for you.
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Dwarf Vader wrote:
or annoys you when fitted it's the wrong one for you.


Yup, that's about the size of it.

There's also the old "seatbelt wearers feel more invincible and take more risks" psychological consequence that is just as likely to apply to wearing a helmet.

No doubt these arguments have been churned over a fair bit, but there's a fuzzy line between permitting people the liberty to risk their lives, and forcing them to reduce the risk by wearing safety clothing/equipment (which isn't entirely downside free).
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Dwarf Vader wrote:
crosbie wrote:
feel my chances of accident would be increased by the encumbrance of a helmet. I'm the same way on cycling.


what encumbrance? if an helmet gets in your vision or annoys you when fitted it's the wrong one for you.


Which is why I still don't have one Embarassed . I have yet to find one that feels like it belongs.
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Quote:

No doubt these arguments have been churned over a fair bit

You can say that again. Given that you are not likely to endanger anyone else by not wearing a ski helmet (rather the reverse, as opposed to being unbelted in the back of a car, which can be lethal to the occupants of front seats) "each to his own" makes sense to me. I wear a helmet - almost always - because I find it very comfortable and I can listen to my music. But I sail a lot and I don't often wear a life jacket - only in particularly dangerous conditions (e.g. fog) or at night. Some people wear them all the time. It irritates me though, to see families skiing (or cycling) with kiddies in helmets, and mum and dad not. So what happens to the kids if ma or pa get brain-injured?
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pam w,
Quote:

It irritates me though, to see families skiing (or cycling) with kiddies in helmets, and mum and dad not. So what happens to the kids if ma or pa get brain-injured?


Well I regret to say you will see it in my family for very well rehearsed reasons on snowHeads.

Pottering around with my children on Pistes just is not abig risk and lugging around helmets for the entire family is a pain.
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Knocked myself out first time I went skiing on a long weekend - sadly same day my nan died got told it was about the same time I was knocked out - is that a coincidence, anyway I had concusion and whole experience scared life out of me.

had a few accidents wearing my helmet, nothing big deal either, once had big bruise on my nut for an average fall, another time fell over and skier went over my helmet leaving it damaged, eek what if that was my head.

please wear a helmet, I am begging you all.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I went out and bought a helmet today for my holiday next week; I've been considering it for quite a while but this news story was the straw that broke the camel's back.
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Quote:

Pottering around with my children on Pistes just is not abig risk


No it isn't - but there is still a risk that some other muppet wipes you out
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
marksovereign wrote:
When was the last time you saw a downhill ski racer compete withjout a helmet?

Never. I'm guessing it wouldn't be permitted by any organisation as their insurance simply wouldn't permit it.

Full disclosure: I went 2 seasons without a helmet, and bought one this winter. Glad I did as it has already saved me from what I can only imagine was a serious concussion - only once, mind, and it's the first time I've caught a heel edge like that in ages - but I now won't ride without it. If you choose not to wear one, that's your choice, however.

Sorry to hear about Natasha Richardson (as I would be about anyone hurt on snow). It does seem to be a very unfortunate low-probability accident. Mont Tremblant has a reputation (even amongst other resorts in eastern Canada) for being particularly icy.
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Julieanne and skimom: a helmet is not a problem to pack, and it is not "bulky".
You just fill it up with stuff, then it hardly takes up any room at all.
I find it excellent protection for goggles and glasses, and then fill it up with socks.
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Poster: A snowHead
IMO it's a freak accident and nothing more.

I skiied 24 days this season on "rough" stuff and didn't fall once. Took myself out a good'un crossing Main St. in Breckenridge though. Maybe I should've worn a helmet to go window-shopping. Puzzled

I wear a hard hat for horseriding, however "when we were kids" I don't remember my mother ever wearing one.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well... we've had our skiing for this year, but while we were skiing I was a bit uncomfortable about the fact that I was insisting the kids wore helmets and we weren't; especially when the kids asked why it was ok for us and not for them.

Today someone put a link to a really cool looking "Retro" helmet (thanks!) and so I have bought myself an early birthday present from my mother-in-law (she is always looking for something to get me so she'll be chuffed wink ) - if I have to wear one I want it to be 'girly' LOL!

I reckon if it fits and is comfortable I'll wear it - if its too small then my daughter can wear it.

Hubby yet to be persuaded. We won't get the kids one either as they come free with the ski hire company we use and until their heads stop growing there doesn't seem much point (except for stopping them getting nits LOL!)

It isn't so much a knee jerk reaction to Natasha's death, more that it is something I have been considering since February and once you've thought 'maybe I should' you just know you (or your family) would regret it if something happened and a helmet could have helped. Different if you'd never thought about it.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I was very sorry to hear about this tragic incident. Any untimely death is a tragedy, but this is all the more poignant as the incident itself sounds like the sort of thing that happens every day on the nursery slope with no adverse outcome at all. Skiing deaths are meant to involve high speed and ravines, not an apparently trivial fall on the nursery slopes.

My thoughts are with her family.

Mrs Snowplough and I will be investing in a pair of "splat hats" for next year. It was tricky this year explaining to the kids why we weren't wearing them this year.
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crosbie wrote:
marksovereign wrote:
I'm still missing the point here somehow - Why are people intimating that helmets are only for beginners? When was the last time you saw a downhill ski racer compete withjout a helmet?


It needs a little more care in making a generalisation, or even inferring one.

People who are skiing beyond or at the limit of their competence (beginners and racers) should wear a helmet whilst doing so - except in a situation where to wear a helmet would tend to increase the risk of harm/severity of potential injury.

How about that?


It doesnt have to be you who is skiing beyond your competence level !!! Unless of course you have a guardian angel
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I for one will not be buying a ski helmet purely because of this tragic loss of life.

Skiing is a sport which somehow manages to fall within the lines of extreme and recreational.

I believe that it is a sport that you enter into fully knowing the potential outcomes of your actions. I don't wear a helmet because I choose not to. Yes I am aware of the risks I run by doing this, but it is by my free will that I choose not to.

We do a lot of dangerous things in our lifetime, I personally do not think that we need to protect ourselves against every single possible risk, purely because of a small occurrence of accidents.
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buckers wrote:
I for one will not be buying a ski helmet purely because of this tragic loss of life.

Skiing is a sport which somehow manages to fall within the lines of extreme and recreational.

I believe that it is a sport that you enter into fully knowing the potential outcomes of your actions. I don't wear a helmet because I choose not to. Yes I am aware of the risks I run by doing this, but it is by my free will that I choose not to.

We do a lot of dangerous things in our lifetime, I personally do not think that we need to protect ourselves against every single possible risk, purely because of a small occurrence of accidents.


At the end of the day its down to personal preference and everyone has the right to choose their level of risk, I just think that with snow. ice, rocks trees, lift stations ,snow cannons etc all about, its worthwhile wearing a helmet, as you only have to get it wrong once
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marksovereign, fair enough, and that is your opinion.

Make it compulsory for children who may not know better, but not for consenting adults.
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Something doesn't smell right in the reporting of this accident.

the original reports from the resort were that she had a minor fall, got back up, said she was fine and didn't need medical treatment and went back to her hotel. Now I know she is a celebrity but still consider the following:
- For any beginner skiers, after a "minor fall", how many of you have had your ski instructor call for the ski patrol.
- After getting up from a minor fall, how many of you have been accompanied back to your hotel room (the bar doesn't count) by your instructor who wants to make sure you are OK

I did see one report that inferred that she was actually "down" for 45 minutes while being treated by the ski patrol. If that is indeed the case, it would explain the above.

Tremblant has a well deserved reputation for being cold and icy but I believe it was warm at Tremblant that day and seem to recall reading that she fell in clump of soft snow. Very curious.
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Celebrities pay for and receive different levels of service from that of the regular clientelle.
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Levitt, perhaps there was a rock under that pile of snow?
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I just wonder how ski resorts, hospitals etc are going to cope when we all start demanding an MRI scan after every knock to the head Puzzled

Quote:
Peter McCabe, chief executive of the brain injury association, Headway, said anyone with even what might seem a minor head injury should seek medical advice.

"Please get it checked out - it might seem inconsequential but under the surface there could be all sorts of things going on, there could be a blood clot, swelling, so even if it does seem simple get yourself assessed."




Certainly some of the reporting I saw yesterday described this as "walk & die" where people appear well after an accident and then suddenly go downhill - at which point it is too late.

I've lost track of the number of hefty bangs on the head I have managed - sometimes just getting into the car in the morning!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Well - she did have a PM - but the information is still pretty sketch about the details of the bleed. They are also saying she initially declined recommended medical consultation. I suspect we will learn more. There might have been a crucial time window where neurosurgery might have helped.

The Candian medical system is interesting -and it is rather harder to access private medicine than in the UK/Europe. I did wonder if that was why she was brought back to the US.

Boris, indeed... That statement is viewed from the perspective of someone dealing almost entirely with people who have had a very bad outcome to head trauma. Difficult to know what the best line is. If you see everyone with any head trauma at all - the needle becomes lost in a haystack. And CT scans - whilst cheap - are carcinogenic themselves...
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stoatsbrother, julesb will be glowing in the dark from all the MRI, X-rays and CT scans he has had in the past 11 weeks.
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You know it makes sense.
Helen Beaumont, Toofy Grin


Do you find that metal objects get stuck to him? wink
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stoatsbrother, its very tricky - liek possibly all parents I have ended up in A&E with a child who has whacked their head and is somewhat groggy - the standard response would seem to be a quick check over of vital functions and the recommendation to bring them back if they are sick, fall asleep etc. By which time, according to some papers, it is too late.

I am of the view that this was a very rare combination of factors and that generally the head is a pretty robust design - I've woken up in casulty with a 4" crack in the back of mine to prove the point!
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I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't resorts that made helmets compulsory, but medical insurance companies, e.g. "If you are not wearing a helmet at the time, cover for MRI scans and neurosurgery due to head injury occasioned whilst engaging in a dangerous activity (see 3.1.23) shall be limited per instance to $1,000 and $10,000 respectively". Or something like that.
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stoatsbrother wrote:
Helen Beaumont, Toofy Grin


Do you find that metal objects get stuck to him? wink


At least two screwed to his spine, but I haven't noticed the cutlery disappearing yet.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
When I took a guest who had had a severe whack on the back of a head (helmet wearing) to local doctor, because I was concerned that he could remember nothing for some time before the accident, or the accident itself, and had vomited, the doc was very good - checked him carefully, told me that he thought it was just mild concussion and that having had a helmet on he was unlikely to have done himself more severe damage, but gave me a list of symptoms to look for which, he insisted, should mean immediate ambulance call and to Albertville for MRI. I was a little anxious, not least because of having to explain to a French ambulance driver how to find a brand new development in an obscure place, but in the event he was OK. The accident had happened on a nursery slope within a short walk of our parked car - we didn't call pisteurs, which probably we should have done, just drove him home for lunch. I stayed at home to watch over him during the afternoon and decided to take him into the doc's when he seemed to be getting no better - it was difficult to decide what to do, especially as he had a bad headache and was vomiting occasionally and it was extremely cold - the last thing he wanted to do was get dragged out into the car. He just wanted to be left quietly to himself in his bed (which, as things turned out, would have been the best thing). It's really hard to know what to do in such situations; I suppose we need to be alert and monitor people carefully - the doctor told me that if there was any sign at all of mental confusion I should ring for an ambulance immediately. But it's a fine line between being alert and being paranoid.
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pam w, no 2 son hit his head during a freestyle lesson at one of the MSB's, he still has no memory of the lesson, or skiing the half-pipe after the fall. Hubby and I were off shopping for apartment stuff (it was just before we moved in), but fortunately other SnowHeads there were able to assess his condition, and sent him back to his room with our other son. He was allowed to sleep, but had to be woken every 15 minutes until we got back from Grenoble.
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Helen Beaumont, oh yes, I remember that happening. I bet he loved being woken every 15 minutes. Good thinking, though. One of our guests had a bit of a neck/head stack on her snowboard and was ambulanced to Albertville, which is down a very windy road and she felt sick, flat on her back. The pompiers had instructions not to let her sleep, and to keep her awake and talking. They wouldn't let her close her eyes, but when she threatened to throw up (not good when flat on your back in a neck collar) they let her shut them provided that she kept talking. She said they were all very sweaty - they'd been summoned from a football game to fetch her - but very nice. Her French is not great, but she was convinced one of them asked her out for a drink when she was back in resort. Very pretty girl - but son's girlfriend at the time, so she didn't take up the invitation.

Two years later she broke a bone in her back in a snowboard accident in St Anton, which at the time was supremely icy and grim. She was helicoptered off the mountain that time - spent weeks in a full body plaster, and further weeks having a lot of physio and hydrotherapy in Zurich. Her Dad does IT for a Swiss bank and had an apartment in Zurich, fortunately. She was snowboarding again this year for the first time; she's by no means a gung-ho girl, very careful and controlled, but she does love her snowboarding.

It's still safer round the pistes than round the roads though; what is it - about 10 people killed every day on the roads in the UK, which are amongst the safest in Europe. They don't hit the headlines though. And young men are more likely to either be killed by violent crime or commit suicide than they are to die on the ski slopes - it's easy to get things out of proportion.
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This was a freak accident, the chance of getting a life threatening injury whilst pottering around on beginner slopes is incredibly low. I'll continue to wear a helment to protect me from impact injuries when skiing at high speed, off piste etc.
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stoatsbrother wrote:
The Candian medical system is interesting -and it is rather harder to access private medicine than in the UK/Europe. I did wonder if that was why she was brought back to the US.


Sadly, in this case I suspect the outcome would have been the same irrespective of the country where it had happened.

Canada's public health care system is very good at dealing with "critical care" emergencies (there is no "private" critical care). Just don't expect your ACL damage to be fixed overnight.
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Levitt wrote:
stoatsbrother wrote:
The Candian medical system is interesting -and it is rather harder to access private medicine than in the UK/Europe. I did wonder if that was why she was brought back to the US.


Sadly, in this case I suspect the outcome would have been the same irrespective of the country where it had happened.

Canada's public health care system is very good at dealing with "critical care" emergencies (there is no "private" critical care). Just don't expect your ACL damage to be fixed overnight.


I wondered about this..... controversial though.... the reason stated for moving her was to be closer to family (would outcome be different if not transferred?)
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daehwons wrote:
I wondered about this..... controversial though.... the reason stated for moving her was to be closer to family (would outcome be different if not transferred?)


From what's been said in the media I don't think it would have mattered. From my perspective it sounds like the moment she was rushed to hospital she had probably begun on a slippery slope.

When she was being transfered, I think somebody may have known that she was basically already dead.
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buckers, I suspect she was transferred to the US was indeed to die in private surroundings with her family, and it was way too late. She may have "coned" or had a similar terminal neurological event.

The start of the whole episode interests me. As of this morning it has variously been reported that:
1) She declined to hire a helmet
2) She initially refused to allow a Doctor to be called
3) The first ambulance called for her was sent away by her or someone linked to her.

These may not be accurate - but there may be some learning points in there...
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